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Archive for the ‘Pollination biology’ Category

This is an internet search that led here.

First, let’s remind what should be obvious but is apparently not realised by many people: since plants in general both have stamens and pistil(s), they are hermaphroditic. Of course, there are great variations with regard to realised gender in plant species, though, please go here for a short overview, but the most common situation is still hermaphroditism.

Orchids, as wonderful plants they can be, just follow this majority rule.  One cannot be completely outstanding I guess. Indeed, as curious as it seems, orchids fairly rarely depart from possessing both male and female attributes at the same time, even if they indulge to quite strange sexual fantasies.

So the answer is straightforward: you don’t need to wonder if an orchid is male or female. There are good odds that they are both. And they are perfectly happy with this. (more…)

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So, well, we might start series as well, because we’re back to anti-sunlight adaptations.

Plants can’t move, or when they do, it’s still still-nature like more than those fasty animal races. Basic fact, but cruel reality.

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Bee Orchid flower

Bee Orchid flower

The Bee Orchid is a fascinating species. First of all, it is really cute. Really diverse, phenotypically speaking (the pattern of labellum varies dramatically from one individual to the other, so does its colour, so do the other sepals and petals).

And of course, as noted by Darwin himself [0], it has the ability to self-pollinate and ensure seed production. (more…)

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Evolving specialized pollination, where you eventually develop a complete dependence to a single pollinator species, is both a risky bet and a win-win path to success. That is, dependence is critical to your reproduction, since you will only succeed to make seeds when your pollinating pet lives around. Mind you, this is not only tricky  because you need to adjust to its needs and way of life, it’s also that you’ll only be able to expand within its own ecological niche.

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It’s so hard to just say « no! », when you happen to be a pollinator.

Because, you know, nectar is not only food. It is not only highly sweet, nor just energetic like corn syrup. Because of its high sugar contents (many oses at many doses), nectar also happens to make the delight of microbes that made the trip to the flower via insect transportation. For this reason, nectar is often getting fermented.

In other words, don’t trust pollinators when then assure you it’s just « feeding » behaviour.  They constantly understate their actual need for nectar. It’s making little lights in their reward limbic system. They’re irremediably addicted, but they would never acknowledge it.

But would it be so true as to classify some pollinators as junkies?

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Okay, so it’s the beginning of the first round of Application Time here, and because of teaching crazziness I’m quite late with regard to paper writing, so I fear I’ll have to let Seeds Aside further swamped into the slowing down spiral. Meanwhile, I’m happy to learn my latest paper is available on the interthing so I tell you as well… (Though if I want to get more now, I’m left with writing, and I do):

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Just published this month. But this is a small case of self promotion, since I got a somewhat low rank in authorship… But hey, that’s still counting, isn’t it?* :-p

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