Category Archives: pollination

Pollinator Syndromes Part II: The Birds and the Bees

After writing a post on pollinator syndromes , I decided a fun weekend project would be to photograph some flowers in my neighborhood that were good examples of what attracts certain types of pollinators.

I started with the following plant, which I thought would be a great example of something that would attract a hummingbird:

hummingbird plant flower

Birds are attracted to the color red, and the long tubular flowers are the perfect shape for long, thin hummingbird tongues. Sure enough, within 30 seconds a hummingbird arrived at the scene.

hummingbird plant bird

hummingbird plant bird 2

Here are some of the other flowers I photographed on my walk around the block:

Brassica far

Brassica close

The color and shape of the wild radish (Raphanus) flower looks like it would be attractive to bees, flies, and possibly butterflies.

Jupiter's Beard (Cetranthus ruber)

Jupiter’s Beard (Cetranthus ruber)

The purple color is attractive to butterflies, and the tubular shape of these flowers make them ideal for butterfly probosces. The position of the anther (the structure that holds the pollen) and the stigma (receptive part of the female structure) above the flower means it will come into contact with butterflies visiting to drink nectar. Because they are in clusters, they have enough surface area for the butterflies to land when they drink.

Sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus

Sticky monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)

M aurantiacus nectar guides

The patterns this flower are likely “nectar guides,” or patterns that guide insect visitors to the nectar reward at the base of the flower. Nectar guides are often found on bee pollinated flowers.

Advertisements