The Three-spot Mariposa Lily is an understated three-petalled white and yellow flower indigenous to some areas of the Columbia Basin. Like all living things, it’s part of the intricate and complex web of life that sustains us all, wrote B.C.’s Revelstoke Times Review, April 12:
Recent research by biologist Lincoln Best, [a graduate student] at York University [Faculty of Science & Engineering] has uncovered that this flower has a particularly intricate relationship with its friends in the bee world. Best’s research, which included fieldwork in Mount Revelstoke National Park, has uncovered evidence that the flower may be highly dependent on just one species of wild bee for pollination. There are over 400 species of wild bees in B.C., but in repeated fieldwork around the flowers, Best caught only the one species of bee interacting with the flower.
With wild bees in decline in B.C. and elsewhere in North America, the concern is this intricate relationship could break down; the tragic end of the cycle could mean the last lilies are left to bloom alone in the forest, with no helpers to spread their pollen an continue their cycle of life.
Best is a student in Biology Professor Laurence Packer's laboratory at York University.
Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.