Elytropus chilensis a woody evergreen almost unnoticed as you walk through the Chilean plant collection to the north of the Front Range. Flowering profusely tucked beneath other shrubs but in desperate need of a wall to climb. The long scandent growth is thriving in this shaded ground hugging situation to the self satisfying point of producing flowers at each leaf axil of the previous year’s growth. In Chile it grows in the shade of rain forest canopy on the sides of the coastal mountains up to the edge of the tree line at c. 2000 metres.
The small leaves have a glossy upper surface and are set opposite each other on the stem. The flowers hang down from these axils, five petalled, tinted pink on the lower inner surface. The scent drifting out is dismissed at first, but there is something intoxicating about the intensity of the smell. Well worth the walk to the north of the Front Range to sniff test.
From the microscope images the anthers are covered in minute bristle like white hairs, a secondary group of hairs can be seen at the base of the petal chamber. Notice the globules of nectar which are contained within the base of the flower parts. Observe the translucent, almost ice crystal, colour change at the tip of the anther. The fascinating detail and intricacies of design within the plant kingdom are revealed through the lens on the microscope.