Images Videos◄►PollinationEffective pollination involves the transfer of pollen from the anthers to a stigma of the samespecies and subsequent germination and growth of the pollen tube to the micropyle of the ovule.Pollen transfer is effected by wind, water, and animals, primarily insects and birds. Wind-pollinated flowers usually have an inconspicuous reduced perianth, long slender filaments andstyles, covered with sticky trichomes and often branched stigmas, pendulous catkininflorescences, and small, smooth pollen grains.
Wind pollination is derived in angiosperms and has developed independently inseveral different groups. For example, within the aster family wind pollination accompanied byfloral reduction has developed independently in the tribes Heliantheae and Anthemideae. Waterpollination occurs in only a few aquatic plants and is highly complicated and derived.There is a wide range of animal pollinators of angiosperms as well as a wide range of adaptationsby the flowers to attract those pollinators. Some of the living unspecialized families of basalangiosperms are pollinated by beetles. The beetles forage and feed on pieces of the perianth andstamens. There are no nectaries but rather food bodies on these organs. Bees are responsible for the pollination of more flowers than any other animalgroup. Bees usually feed on nectar and in some cases on pollen. They may be general pollinatorsby visiting flowers of many species, or they may have adapted (i.e., elongated) their mouthpartsto different flower depths and have become specialized to pollinate only a single species.Flowers pollinated by bees commonly have a zygomorphic, or bilaterally symmetrical, corollawith a lower lip providing a landing platform for the bee (see photograph).Nectar is commonly produced either at the base of the corolla tube or in extensions of the corollabase. The bees partially enter the corolla mouth to feed with their long tongues on the nectar, atwhich point they deposit pollen picked up from other flowers and collect pollen from the newflower. Flowers pollinated by bees are often blue or yellow or exhibit patterns of both. Particularpattern markings and ultraviolet reflection patterns (see photograph) serve asrecognition guides.
A high degree of coevolution is common in orchids (e.g., Ophrys speculum [seephotograph]), where the flower not only appears to resemble the female wasp of a particularspecies but also produces the pheromone released by the insect to attract males of the species.The male wasp effects pollination by pseudocopulation with the orchid flower. Other insectpollinators include flies, butterflies (see photograph), moths, and mosquitoes.Many flowers pollinated by flies are called carrion flowers because they look and smell likerotting meat. The skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) and the carrion flowers (Stapeliaschinzii) have evolved these characteristics independently.Vertebrate pollinators include birds, bats, small marsupials, and small rodents. Many bird-pollinated flowers are bright red, especially those pollinated by hummingbirds (see photograph). Hummingbirds rely solely on nectar as their food source. Flowers(e.g., Fuchsia) pollinated by birds produce copious quantities of nectar but little or no odourbecause birds have a very poor sense of smell. Flowers pollinated by bats produce largequantities of nectar and strong fragrances. They generally open only at night, when bats are themost active, and often hang down on long inflorescence stalks, which provide easy access to thenectaries and pollen. Some eucalypts (Eucalyptus) are pollinated by small marsupials (e.g.,honey possums).Whatever the agent of dispersal, the first phase of pollination is successful when a pollen grainlands on a receptive stigma. The surface of the stigma can be wet or dry and is often composedof specialized glandular tissue; the style is lined with secretory transmitting tissue. Theirsecretions provide an environment that nourishes the pollen tube as it elongates and grows downthe style. If mitosis in the generative cell has not yet occurred in the pollen grain, it does so atthis time.To prevent self-fertilization, many angiosperms have developed a chemical system of self-incompatibility. The most common type is sporophytic self-incompatibility, in which thesecretions of the stigmatic tissue or the transmitting tissue prevent the germination or growth ofincompatible pollen. A second type, gametophytic self-incompatibility, involves the inability ofthe gametes from the same parent plant to fuse and form a zygote or, if the zygote forms, then itfails to develop. These systems force outcrossing and maintain a wide genetic diversity.
The pollen tube ultimately enters an ovule through the micropyle and penetrates one of the sterilecells on either side of the egg (synergids). These synergids begin to degenerate immediately afterpollination. Pollen tubes can reach great lengths, as in corn, where the corn silk consists of thestyles for the corn ear and each silk thread contains many pollen tubes.Angiosperm pollinationSunday 24 October 2004, by Rebecca, www.botanique.orgAll the versions of this article: [English] [français]Pollination can be made according to various modes: Self pollination. The stigma of a flower receives the pollen of the same plant. This mode isfrequent, but not compulsory, in cultivated Grasses. It is on the other hand compulsory forflowers that do not open (cleistogamous ) such as the Violet. Crossed pollination. The stigma of a flower receives the pollen of another plant.Cross pollination can be promoted: By dioecism: male flowers and female flowers are on separate plants (dioecious species), By dichogamy: male and female organs mature at different times. The pollen is before releasedwhile the stigma is immature (protandry) or the stigma is receptive while stamens are still young(protogyny), By hercogamy: some structures prevent pollen from being transferred on stigma of the sameflower (rostellum of the Orchis), By heterostyly: in Primula, flowers with high style and stamens situated on the base of thecorolla must be pollinated by flowers with short style and stamens situated on the top of thecorolla, By self sterility: flowers can’t be self pollinated because of dimorphism in pollen grains andstigma surfaces.Means of pollination are the wind (anemophily) or insects (entomophily), less often water. In thefirst case, flowers generally have a well developed and coloured perianth. In the second case,there is no perianth or it is reduced and uncoloured.