Sticky but not Icky: Tarflower

!!bejaria-racemosa-flower-&-bud
On the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area near the kiosk grows tarflower (Bejaria racemosa). When not in flower, this shrub of scrub and pine flatwoods is easy to overlook. Its spring-summer flowers, however, are quite striking and are held in racemes, the source of its species name, racemosa.

A raceme is an an unbranched inflorescence with flowers held on short stalks with older flowers held at the base …
!bejaria-acemosa-veritcal
The genus name, Bejaria, honors Jose Bejar, an 18th century Spanish botanist. Other common names are flyweed and flycatcher. Like tarflower, they refer to the sticky stuff on the underside of the petals, which entrap ants and other insects attempting to ‘rob’ its nectar without providing pollination services.

Settlers hung up the racemes of this plant in their abodes to ‘trap’ flies and other insects, and some folks claim that this plant was the precursor to the Shell No-Pest strips of yester-year. The undersides of the flower petals are so sticky that you could stick a plant to your label as a boutonniere.
!bejaria-racemosa---side-view
Like the lyonias and blueberries, this plant is a member of the heath family, Ericaceae. It can be distinguished by its very hairs stems and seed capsules …
!bejaria-racemosa-hairy-stem
!bejaria-racemosa-seed-capsule