ACTION & REACTION - FACT

The tiny flower of the Flying Duck Orchid is inverted so that the labellum, which can be imagined to be shaped like a duck's head, projects upward above the rest of the flower.  (see photo above)

The osmotic pressure is released when the labellum is touched, causing the labellum to travel rapidly downward so that the duck's bill and head are wedged into a cup-like device (column & column wings).  (see photo below)

Sometimes the tactile stimulus is provided by males of a sawfly species (Pterygophorus) which may pounce on the labellum as a result of an attraction to the deceitful sexual odour emitted by the orchid.  (see photo above)

When triggered accidentally, the orchid begins to reset.

As the hinged stalk curls, it pulls the labellum upward into the necessary position to attract a pollinator.  This can take up to 20 minutes.  (see photo below)

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