Saturday, June 19, 2004

Everybody Polka!

If you live in the U.S., chances are that you've owned a pot of the pink polka-dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), a common houseplant native to Madagascar. But if you live in Costa Rica, perhaps you've seen this plant naturalizing in disturbed areas. Below is a photo of polka-dot plants lining a trail near protected bellbird habitats in Los Llanos preserve. It dominates parts of the trail, and can be found mixed in with the grasses in the borders of the abandoned pastures in the preserve. A study back in 1999 noted that native butterflies were unsuccessfully attempting to use polka-dot plant as a host species for their eggs.

image of pink polka-dot plant

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