Pollination - Pollination and Bee Plants Pollination This...

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Excerpted from Beekeeper's Handbook, Sammataro/Avitabile ©1998. page 1 Pollination This section is about how flowers, from apples to rutabagas, are pollinated, set seed and bear fruit. It also outlines the importance of adequate pollination from bees and other pollinators. Growers and beekeepers may have to have wild or native bee pollinators help honey bees with the pollination tasks. Many beekeepers are supple- menting the pollination workforce by rearing native bees such as sweat bees, bumble bees and leafcutter bees, to name a few. Some Definitions Flowers are the reproductive parts of a plant, where seeds are formed and from which the fruits and vegetables develop. For the cycle to begin, a pollen grain, which is often carried on an insect or by the wind, comes in contact with the stigma (or female part) of the same flower species. Fertilization takes place when pollen from the anther (male organ) unites with a female ovule, which forms the seed and fruit. Each species of plant has its unique shape and form of pollen grains, which enables paleobotanists, studying ancient plants, to identify pollen from the mud at the bottom of 10,000 year old bogs. The transfer of pollen from male to female sex organs is called pollina- tion. All plants must be pollinated before seed (or fruit) will set. Pollen is transferred from the anthers to the stigma by wind, water, gravity, mammals, birds, humans and insects. If the transfer takes place on the same blossom or on another blossom on the same plant, it is called self-polli- nation. Beans, for example, are self-pollinating. Though many kinds of beans and other plants do not need insect visitors, they do benefit from the extra pollen carried by them and may even set better or more fruit. This is true for soybeans and lima beans. But if the pollen goes from a Red Delicious apple tree to a Granny Smith apple tree, this is called cross-pollina- tion. Apples and many fruits have a further complication. Many varieties are self -sterile. That means the pollen from the Red Delicious will NOT pollinate itself or flow- ers from other Red Delicious trees. It must have another variety of apple pollen to set fruit. The placement of apple varieties, size of the blocks of pollenizers (trees used just as a source of pollen) and length of rows may be important in fruit set in the orchard. Pollinizers in apple orchards are sometimes crabapple trees. It is important not to have too big a block of any one variety in any single area of the orchard. Many plants are wind pollinated, including all the grasses (and their cultivated cousins corn, oats, wheat, rice), tomatoes, ragweed and evergreen trees. Such pollen is light and is produced in enormous quantities and is the cause of allergic reactions or hayfever to many people.
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Pollination - Pollination and Bee Plants Pollination This...

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