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How Does Pollination Work and Why is Pollination Important

Honey bee on a flower

What is pollination

Have you ever noticed how pleasant many flowers smell?

They have attractive scents, as well as bright colors, in order to attract insects. Insects use the nectar made by flowers as food.
In the process of getting the food, the insects transfer pollen from flower to flower.
The process of seed formation begins with this transfer of pollen grains from one flower to the stigma of another flower of the same kind.

This transfer is called pollination.

The main insects which pollinate flowers are bees and butterflies.

These insects feed on the sweet, sugar liquid called nectar that is usually produced by special cells in the receptacle.

On its way to the nectar, the insect has to pass the flower’s anthers, which are covered in pollen. Some of the pollen sticks to the insect’s body and then brushes off onto the stigma of the next flower that the insect visits.
A thin tube grows from the pollen grain, down through the style, and into the ovule. A male cell, carried by this pollen tube, unites with an egg, and the ovule starts to develop into a fertile seed.

Wind-pollinated flowers

Some flowering plants, such as grasses and hazel trees, don’t have any nectar in their flowers to attract insects. These plants need the wind to pollinate them. The wind blows the pollen off the anthers of one flower and onto the sticky stigma of another flower.
Seed poppy - Wind-pollinated flowers

The seed pod of the common corn poppy contains hundreds of tiny seeds that are scattered by the wind. Each seed can grow into a mature poppy plant.
The stigma of a wind-pollinated plant can be large and feathery, in order to catch the pollen more easily. It’s the wind that takes the pollen from male cones to the ovules of female pine cones, too.

What are annual plants, biennial plants, perennial plants?

Some flowering plants, such as nasturtiums and giant sunflowers, grow and die in the same year.

We call these annuals.

Not all annuals are welcome in our gardens— many weeds are annuals!
Other plants take two years to grow.

We call these biennials.

Flowers such as foxgloves and vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are biennials. In their first year, biennial plants store up food. In their second year, they use food, flower, and die.

Some plants, such as irises, madonna lilies, and begonias, go on growing and flowering for many years.

We call these perennials.

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