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Botanical Sex In The Garden
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Botanical Sex In The Garden


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Gardeners love to watch flowers and pollinators. Program describes pollinator-plant associations and provides some of the botanical science of pollination mechanisms

Gardeners love to watch flowers and pollinators. Program describes pollinator-plant associations and provides some of the botanical science of pollination mechanisms

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  • 1. Sex in the Garden
    …From the plant’s perspective
    Linda R McMahan, Extension Horticulture
    Oregon State University, Yamhill County Extension Service
  • 2. Question: Define Sex
    Courtesy of Google
    sexual activity, e.g., "they had XXX in the back seat“
    either of the two categories (male or female) into which most organisms are divided
    tell the sex (of young chickens)
    the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive roles
  • 3. More
    an Australian television series that ran from 1992 to 1993 on the Nine Network
    an album by popular Greek artist Elli Kokkinou
    a 1926 play, written by, and starring, Mae West
    est le titre d'un livre écrit par Madonna sorti en 1992 accompagnant son neuvième album Erotica. ...
  • 4. Our Version
    Plant reproduction by whatever means, with the “intention” to produce more plants!
  • 5. Various Reproductive Strategies
    Vegetative Reproduction
  • 6. Some “Choices” for Plants
    Generalist vs. Specialist
    Many Small Seeds vs. Few Large Seeds
    Vegetative vs. Sexual
    Self-pollinated vs. Cross-fertilization
    Various modes of pollination and relationship to abundance of pollinators, presence of wind or water, flowering time, and so on.
  • 7. Some Vegetative Strategies
    Piggyback plant – Tolmiea menziesii - produces plant “offsets” on the leaves
    Crocus – division of the bulbs in the ground
    Some others methods include underground stems such as rhizomes and tuberous stems, new plant production from underground roots or tuberous roots, bulbils, and various strategies of rooting by forms of layering, such as when plant stems bend over and a new plant grows when it touches the ground.
    Dune strawberry, Fragariachiloensis, reproducing by runners
  • 8. So now ask yourself “Why do plants have flowers?” And then, “Why do plants have prettyflowers?”
  • 9. Purpose of Flowers?
    “The accomplishment of fertilization is the primary function of the flower”
    1907 A Textbook of Botany
  • 10. Purpose of Flowers?
    Produce pollen and ovules that combine to create embryos that are dispersed in seeds
  • 11. Flowers are “Pretty” To Attract Attention
    Potential pollinators
    Potential dispersal in other ways, such as by people in gardens and landscapes
  • 12. Flowers are a Form of Advertising
    To create a “sale” to pollinators or dispersers, an offer must take place. This is usually in the form of pollen or nectar.
    Then the plant needs to advertise the availability of the offer – hence the flower, which sometimes produces an odor attractive to the potential pollinator.
    The flower must then accept “payment” from the pollinator as a method to transfer of pollen to a stigma. Bargain complete.
  • 13. Characteristics of Wind Pollinated Flowers – The Pollinator is Not a Creature in this Case
    Produce large amounts of pollen, often in catkins.
    Pollen is small to travel on the wind.
    Timing takes advantage of seasonal wind patterns.
    Flowers may or may not be attractive, but are usually small with little color or odor.
    Grasses and conifers are typically wind pollinated.
  • 14. Wind Pollination
    Willow – Salix species
    Stinging nettle, Urticadioica
    Western Hazelnut – Corylusnutalli
    Plantain, Plantago
    Ginkgo biloba
  • 15. Silk tassel bush, Garryaelliptica
  • 16. Most conifers, this juniper for examples, are wind pollinated
  • 17. Characteristics of Bee Pollinated Flowers
    Typically but not always blue or yellow.
    Produce ample pollen and nectar.
    Ultraviolet coloration and nectar guides.
    Sweet smell and strong “center.”
    Have places for bees to land safely to collect the pollen and nectar.
    Photo of Lithodora and bee by Carolyn Devine.
  • 18. Some Bee flowers
    Flannel bush, Fremontodendroncalifornicum
    Stream violet, Viola glabella, note nectar guides
    Blueblossom, Ceanothusthyrsiflorus, bees, also beetles
  • 19. Bumblebee on snowberry, Symphoricarpos alba. Many members of the heath family, Ericaceae, are pollinated by bumblebees
  • 20. More Examples of Ericaceae Flowers
    Strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo
    Salal, Gaultheria shallon
    Ghost plant, Monotropauniflora
  • 21. More Bee Flowers
    Camas, Camassia
    Douglas aster
    Cat’s ear, Calochotussp.
  • 22. More bee flowers
    Fairy slipper orchid, Calypso bulbosa
    Bleeding heart
  • 23. Characteristics of Butterfly Pollinated Flowers
    Brightly colored – can be red
    Little if any odor
    Flower arrangements create landing platforms and places to walk around
    Plants with these flowers are often also hosts for the larval stage of particular butterflies
  • 24. More Butterfly Flowers
    Wild carrot
    Yarrow, Achilleamillefolium
    Yellow twig dogwood
    Garden phlox
  • 25. More Butterly Flowers
    Sedum spathulifolium
    Ocean spray, Holodiscus discolor—also attracts other insects
  • 26. More Butterfly Flowers
    Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
    Echinacea ‘White Swan’ – odor of coneflowers may have developed especially to attract butterflies
  • 27. Characteristics of Fly Pollinated Flowers
    Sometimes purple, brown, brownish red, OR in other plants, white
    Unattractive odor, at least to humans, such as rotting meat or dung OR slightly sweet odor – Depends on intended fly
    Asarumcaudatum, wild ginger
  • 28. More Fly Flowers
    Skunk cabbage, Lysichitonamericanum
    Slinkpod, Scoliopisbigelovii
  • 29. Rubusparviflorus, thimbleberry, a “generalist” – bees, flies, beetles
  • 30. Characteristics of Bird Pollinated Flowers
    Typically red, pink, or orange
    No odor
    Facilitate hovering or gathering nectar and pollen from the air
    Bottlebrush, pollinated by honeyeater birds in its native Australia
  • 31. More bird flowers- hummingbirds
    Red flowering currant, Ribessanguineum
    California fuschia, Epilobiumcanum (Zauchneriacalifornica)
  • 32. More Bird flowers
    Western columbine, Aquilegia formosa, also attracts other insects including spinx moth
    Cape fuschia, Phygelius
    Western bleeding heart, Dicentraformosa
  • 33. Other pollinators
    Moths – typically white or flowers with “big” sweet scent that are open at night.
    Beetles – attracted to many flowers where pollen is readily available.
    Spiders occasionally. Darlingtoniacalifornicamay be pollinated by a tiny spider.
    A vast variety of flying insects like wasps and many forms of flies.
    In other parts of the world, pollinators may be bats or other mammals.
  • 34. Guess the Pollinator
    Opuntia sp., prickly pear cactus
  • 35. Guess the Pollinator
    Clarkia sp.
  • 36. Cistus sp.
    Guess the Pollinator
  • 37. Guess the Pollinator
    Camellia sasanqua
  • 38. Guess the Pollinator
    Darmerapeltata, umbrella plant
  • 39. Guess the Pollinator
    Iris tenax, Oregon iris
  • 40. Guess the Pollinator
    Trillium ovatum
  • 41. Guess the Pollinator
    Redwood sorrel, Oxalis oregana
  • 42. Guess the Pollinator
  • 43. Guess the Pollinator
  • 44. Some Plants Change the rules
    • Apomixis - replacement of the normal sexual reproduction by asexual production of seeds but without fertilization.
    • 45. Agamospermy- production by plants of seeds in which the embryo is derived (without fertilization) from diploid cells of the parent.
    • 46. Parthenogenesis - a form of reproduction in which the egg develops into a new individual without fertilization.
    • 47. Cleistogamy- production of flowers which do not open, and are self-fertilized in the bud
  • Apomixis
    Seeds are produced, but they are genetically identical to the parent.
    Advantage may be to pass on genetic material that is highly useful. Example: Dandelions are apomictic.
    Embryo arises from an unfertilized egg.
    Techniques are being developed to use this feature in plant breeding programs to ensure identical nature of crops.
  • 48. Agamospermy
    Includes any mechanism that produces a genetically identical seed, including Apomixes.
    This and similar strategies may be advantageous in disturbed habitats.
    Very common in Aster family, and sometimes found in roses and other plants.
    You cannot tell by looking at the flower.
  • 49. Parthenogenesis
    Mother cell does not divide, but itself contributes the genetic identify to the seed.
    Apomixes, when it does not involve pollen, is considered to be a plant form of parthenogenesis.
  • 50. Cleistogamy
    Individual flowers are obligate self-pollinators.
    They are often colorless, and do not open.
    Happens in many violets, peanuts and ground nuts, for example.
    Sometimes, like in Viola glabella, some of the flowers are insect pollinated and others, often the later ones, are self-pollinated and look very different from the insect-pollinated flowers
  • 51. Seed Dispersal—How Seeds Get Around Once they are Formed
    Western hazelnut, Cornusnuttalli
    Western lupine, Lupinuspolyphyllus
    Bigleaf maple, Acer macrophyllum
    Techniques of dispersal vary considerably and include wind and water, consumed and transported by birds or animals, or dropping close to the parent plant. Dispersal animals include mammals, humans, ants, insects, birds, and probably many more.
  • 52. Slinkpod, Scoliopisbigelovii– pollinated by flies but dispersal helped by slugs which often eat the edges of the pods and expose the seeds.
  • 53. Asian pear dispersal?
  • 54. Prickly pear cactus fruits attach to passer-by for a free ride to a new location, or because of their attractive taste and appearance, may be eaten and transported in that way
  • 55. English ivy, dispersed by birds, but the birds often get sick in the process
  • 56. Thank You for Coming Today!
    Any questions?
  • 57. Time to Travel Home—Thank You