West Coast National Park – Yellowfaces – 1

Hemimeris is a genus of flowering plants in the family Scrophulariaceae, native to the Cape Provinces of South Africa. Hey secrete oils to attract specialized oil-collecting bees from the genus Rediviva.


Dainty, soft, annual, 5-35cm tall. Leaves ovate, toothed or lobed; bears yellow flowers 7-13mm long, with 2 spurs 1.5-3mm long.

The polymorphism occurs in Hemimeris racemosa (Scrophulariaceae), a common annual herb of the Cape region of South Africa. Most populations are dimorphic for style orientation: the style alternates with the two stamens and is deflected either upwards or downwards. Thus, there is reciprocal placement of the style and stamens in a vertical plane in zygomorphic flowers. The flowers are symmetrical, and the floral parts do not vary in length. All flowers on a given plant are of the same stylar orientation.

Pollination is by specialized oil-collecting bees (Rediviva spp.), which carry the pollen of the two morphs separately in discrete anterior or posterior locations on the underside of the body. Most inversostylous populations have a slightly higher proportion of the style-down morph, and this bias increases with decreasing pollinator abundance. In contrast with inversostylous populations, all individuals in homostylous populations of H. racemosa have the style and the stamens clustered together in the down position and high levels of autogamous seed set. Homostylous populations of H. racemosa, as well as the homostylous species Hemimeris sabulosa, occur where oil-collecting bees are less abundant.

Flowering from July to October.


Coastal and inland sands and clays. Mainly Richtersveld to Port Elizabeth.

Yellowface, Hemimeris racemosa, Seeberg Bird Hide, West Coast National Park, South Africa

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