Sunny Bee
"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe,
then man would have only four years of life left.
No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants,
no more animals, no more man."
~ Albert Einstein


What does the word "pollination" mean?

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from a stamen to a pistil. Pollination starts the production of seeds. Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred in plants, thereby enabling fertilization and sexual reproduction. Pollination is a necessary step in the reproduction of flowering plants, resulting in the production of offspring that are genetically diverse. Pollination can be accomplished by cross-pollination or by self-pollination. Self-pollination occurs when pollen from one flower pollinates the same flower or other flowers of the same individual. Pollination is very important. It leads to the creation of new seeds that grow into new plants.

Reproductive Parts of a Flower

Reproductive Parts of a Flower

But how does pollination work? Well, it all begins in the flower. Flowering plants have several different parts that are important in pollination. Flowers have male parts called stamens that produce a sticky powder called pollen. Flowers also have a female part called the pistil. The top of the pistil is called the stigma, and is often sticky. Seeds are made at the base of the pistil, in the ovule.

To be pollinated, pollen must be moved from a stamen to the stigma. When pollen from a plant's stamen is transferred to that same plant's stigma, it is called self-pollination. When pollen from a plant's stamen is transferred to a different plant's stigma, it is called cross-pollination. Cross-pollination produces stronger plants. The plants must be of the same species. For example, only pollen from a daisy can pollinate another daisy. Pollen from a rose or an apple tree would not work.

How Do Plants Get Pollinated?

Pollination occurs in several ways. People can transfer pollen from one flower to another, but most plants are pollinated without any help from people. Usually plants rely on animals or the wind to pollinate them.

When animals such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies, and hummingbirds pollinate plants, it's accidental. They are not trying to pollinate the plant. Usually they are at the plant to get food, the sticky pollen or a sweet nectar made at the base of the petals. When feeding, the animals accidentally rub against the stamens and get pollen stuck all over themselves. When they move to another flower to feed, some of the pollen can rub off onto this new plant's stigma.


Meet the Pollinators!!

Bees • Butterflies • Moths • Pollinating Beetles • Flies • Hummingbirds • Bats

Pollinator Flower Preferences

Pollinators Flower Preferences


Yellow, blue, purple flowers. There are hundreds of types of bees that come in a variety of sizes and have a range of flower preferences. They can't see red, but are attracted to some red flowers, such as bee balm, that reflect ultraviolet light. Small bees, which have short tongues, prefer packed clusters of tiny flowers (e.g., marigold, daisy, butterfly weed, aromatic herbs).
Butterflies Red, orange, yellow, pink, blue flowers. They need to land before feeding, so like flat-topped clusters (e.g., zinnia, calendula, butterfly weed, yarrow, daisy) in a sunny location. They also need food sources for larvae and places to lay eggs. These include milkweed, aster, lupine, thistle, fennel, violets, hollyhock, black-eyed Susan.
Moths Light-colored flowers that open at dusk such as evening primrose.
Pollinating beetles They prefer wide-open flowers, such as aster, sunflower, rose, and butterfly weed.
Flies Green, white, or cream flowers. They have short tongues, so prefer simple-bowl shapes.
Hummingbirds Red, orange, purple/red tubular flowers with lots of nectar (e.g., honeysuckle, sage, fuchsia, jewelweed, fireweed, cardinal flower, bee balm, nasturtium, century plant). No landing areas are needed since they hover while feeding.
(Pollinating bats are found primarily in the Southwest)
Large, light-colored, night-blooming flowers with strong fruity odor (e.g., many types of cactus).
Save the Bees

Last modified: 2013-05-29, 03:24