Stylidium laricifolium: is a member of the Stylidiaceae family and is known as the Tree Triggerplant. The common name is an exaggeration because this Triggerplant only reaches a height of 1.5 metre but it is the tallest Stylidium species.
The Tree Triggerplant is an erect, branching shrub with spirally arranged leaves that are up to four centimetres long. The foliage gives plants a pine-like appearance. The species name refers to this appearance and means resembling the conifer genus Larix, the Larches.
In spring a flowering spike is produced from the end of each stem. Each spikes carries from 10 to 30 pink, 10 millimetres wide flowers with white markings.
All Triggerplants have a unique pollination mechanism. Both anthers and stigma are combined in a sensitive column. When an insect lands at the base of the column it acts like a trigger and hits the insect on the back. This action transfers pollen onto the back of the insect. When the insect visits another Triggerplant the pollen is transferred and cross-pollination is accomplished. The trigger may be activated by touching the centre of the flower with a piece of grass. After a few minutes the trigger resets and awaits the arrival of another insect or grass-bearing human. The right image shows a stylised diagram with the column depositing pollen onto an insect.
Stylidium laricifolium is widespread and is found in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. The Tree Triggerplant usually grows in rocky places on sandstone or granite. The species usually forms large colonies.
This unusual plant could be cultivated in native cottage gardens. For maximum effect imitate nature and plant clumps of the Tree Triggerplant.
Propagate from seed or cuttings.
The drawing is taken from a very interesting book: Triggerplants by Douglas W. Darnowski and is published by Rosenberg.