We have good numbers of Slender Groundsels (Senecio phelleus) flowering in our bush at the moment. These delicate daisies have a rosette of dark green leaves with purple undersides and tall stems, also with a few green/purple leaves, and tiny daisy flowers on top. Flowers that look like they should open more, but never do.
Many plants are both currently flowering and setting seed. They are quite beautiful when setting seed.
Slender Groundsel setting seed.
Groundsel seed and a little dew
I’ve often been curious about what pollinates these tiny daisies and this season have seen some of the many hoverflies visiting them, but have not been able to photograph them in this act. Whilst I was looking at one plant, I thought an ant might be doing some pollen collection, but she had other things on her mind.
Ant munching on an aphid
To my surprise she was busy eating an aphid. As I looked at other flowers on the same plant, I discovered that she had quite a smorgasboard of them!
Aphids on Slender Groundsel
Most of them were black, but for one tiny red one. Was this a different species or just a variant of the same?
Standing out from the crowd.
I also found on the same plant a tiny gnat, who didn’t seem interested in the aphids, but I couldn’t tell if it wanted to get pollen or stick a proboscis into the plant.
Gnat on Slender Groundsel
It’s also a big time of year for Bluebells – Wahlenbergia sp. Also a hit with the hoverflies it seems.
Hoverfly taking the offerings of a Bluebell
And off to the next one!