Mountain daisies and cushion plants have successfully adapted to the harsh alpine environment. Daisies have thick, woolly leaves which help them resist drying winds. New Zealand’s alpine flora is very rich, although a curious feature is that at least 78% have white flowers. These tend to be a simple bowl shape. As New Zealand has few specialist flower visitors (such as social bees), it is thought that alpine plants have these open, white flowers to attract as wide a range of insects that may help pollinate it. In lands with specialised pollinators, plants have tended to evolve with more complex flowers.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by J. Davis
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