Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Flower-Visiting Insects of Biennial Gaura in Illinois
(Long-tongued bees collect pollen or suck nectar; short-tongued bees collect pollen & are non-pollinating; flies feed on pollen & are non-pollinating; observations are from Robertson)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus impatiens cp, Bombus pensylvanica sn cp fq; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile mendica cp; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata sn cp
Halictidae (Halictinae): Lasioglossum versatus cp np
Syrphidae: Eupeodes americanus fp np
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Gaura biennis
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Gaura biennis, commonly known as biennial gaura or biennial beeblossom, is a native (North American) biennial plant that can reach anywhere from 4–6 feet in height at maturity. Its upper half is made up of flowering stems, which are covered with soft, white hairs. Gaura biennis is most well known for its light pink colored flowers, which turn a vibrant red/pink color in the late summer to early fall seasons (August to September, usually). These colors make this plant attractive to butterflies and bees, and are in full bloom just before many fall plant species begin to bloom.
Research has been done in order to test the hybridization between different species of the genus Gaura and to describe why many members of this genus are so similar morphologically. According to Carr et al., Gaura biennis is readily crossbred with Gaura longiflora, showing it is a direct derivative from G. longiflora, but the specialized feature of permanent translocation heterozygosity set G. biennis apart as a unique genetic system amongst the genus.
Gaura biennis naturally occurs throughout eastern and central North America, and extends as far north as Quebec, Canada. Some of the states in the U.S. it can be found in include: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, and Virginia.
Habitat and Ecology
Gaura biennis is a biennial plant, meaning it completes its life cycle over the course of two growing seasons, in which it will usually reach full maturity towards the end of the second growing season. It lives mostly in prairies throughout North America, and in dry, rocky places and deserts. It prefers sunny, dry areas, but has the capability of adapting to a wide range of habitats because of its ability to grow deep roots. In order to survive wet winters, it needs a dry spot in light soil.
Individuals of this species are tall and weedy, with white to light pink flowers during blooming season, and leaves that turn a red color when mature. The flimsy makeup of the plant allows it to sway in the wind, which makes seed dispersal easier. A few hair-covered stems exit from the top of the plant where the flowers grow, which is the easiest way to tell that the species is the Gaura biennis. Flowers also usually have 4 petals, 8 stamens, and 1 pistol. It starts as a small plant, but grows anywhere from 3–6 feet during its second year.
Flowers and fruit
The flowers of Gaura biennis are its most notable feature, with attractive white to light pink color. They have 4 petals, 8 stamens, and 1 pistil, which are mostly pollinated by bees and other insects. The fruits are capsules, ribbed or ridged, and are occasionally woody. It produces small seeds that are easily dispersed by wind and other methods.
- Hilty, J. (2014), Illinois Wild Flowers= pages=Gaura biennis
- Phillips, R., Rix, M. (2002), The Botanical Gardens II: Perennials and Annuals= pages=156
- Carr, B., Gregory, D., Raven, P., Tai, W. (1986), Experimental Hybridization and Chromosomal Diversity within Gaura sect. Gaura (Onagraceae)= pages=98–111
- United States Department of Agriculture (2014), Plant Profile: Gaura biennis L.
- Hilty, J.(2014): Illinois Wild Flowers - Gaura Biennis
- Phillips, R., Rix, M. (2002): The botanical gardens II: Perennials and annuals. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books Ltd
- Carr, B., Gregory, D., Raven, P., Tai, W. (1986): Experimental Hybridization and Chromosomal Diversity within Gaura sect. Gaura (Onagraceae) in Systemic Botany, 11, 98-111
- United States Department of Agriculture: Gaura biennis L. (2014) (retrieved May 3, 2014)
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