Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Process of Pollination

The process of pollination differs for different plants depending on their unique evolution. But many flowering plants, most common gardening plants and most of the herbaceous plants mentioned in this text have evolved to be pollinated in the way described below. Try to identify parts of the flower described as the process is explained. 
Pollinators (such as birds, bees, butterflies and other insects) approach the flower from the petal. Flying pollinators land there and non-flying pollinators crawl up to the surface. They all pass through the male parts of the flower (androeceum) where they get pollen all over the tiny hairs on their bodies. They reach the base of the female part in the center (gynoeceum) where the nectar is located. Any pollen already acquired by the pollinator sticks to the sticky stigma at the tip of the gynoeceum (the style). 

The pollen penetrates the stigma, travels down the style to the ovary at the base of the gynoeceum where it has the opportunity to fertilize the eggs and develop into seeds. There are actually two cells in each tiny little spec of pollen. One cell’s job is to tunnel down the style and the other one follows so it can do its job of fertilization. 
Flowers develop a wide variety of colors, styles and sizes in their different parts in order to attract and utilize different creatures for pollination purposes. The style of the flower is sometimes a clue to its pollinator. It is easy to imagine a bee buzzing all over this rose, leaving a mess of pollen on the petals and everywhere. Some flowers are more tubular for the long tongues of hummingbirds (like orange honeysuckle, Lonicera ciliosa). The structure of the flower holds great purpose in pollination.