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23.7: Pollination Syndromes

  • Page ID
    33926
  • Pollination is essential for producing offspring. Because of this, it serves as a strong driver of selection in angiosperms. Flowering plants have evolved to utilize different pollinators, such as wind or birds, to transport their pollen to other flowers of the same species. Some of these pollinators, such as wind, are not selective and rely on producing large quantities of pollen. Others, like hummingbirds, require large quantities of nectar and are attracted by particular colors. Use the table of pollination syndromes below to determine the likely pollinator for the flowers available in your lab.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Pollination Syndromes (adapted from US Forest Service)

    Color

    Structure

    Scent

    Nectar or Pollen

    Wind

    Dull, perianth often absent or reduced

    Large feathery stigmas, large anthers

    None

    No nectar, large amounts of pollen

    Birds

    Reds and pinks

    Often tubular or cupped

    None

    Lots of hidden nectar, moderate pollen

    Bees

    Purples, blues, yellows, white, UV

    Flat and shallow or tubular, with landing area

    Sweet, fresh, mild

    Pollen often sticky and scented, nectar usually present

    Bats

    White, dull green, or purple

    Often bowl-shaped or pendant, anthers protruding

    Musty or fruity, strong, emitted at night

    Lots of hidden nectar

    Moths

    White, pale pink or purple

    Often tubular or cupped, no landing pad

    Strong and sweet, emitted at night

    Lots of hidden nectar, limited pollen

    Butterflies

    Bright colors

    Tubular, with wide landing pad

    Faint, fresh

    Lots of hidden nectar, limited pollen

    Flies

    Dark red, purple, brown

    Shallow, funnel, or trap-like

    Putrid, rotting

    No nectar, moderate pollen

    Who is the pollinator?

    Record the most likely pollinator and the trait(s) in the flower that lead you to this conclusion:

    1.

    2.

    3.

    4.

    5.

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