When does pollination take place?

Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from the stamen to stigma. It is possible for flowers to pollinate themselves, or other flowers on the same plant – this is called self-pollination. It is, however, much better for the health of the species if cross-pollination occurs, i.e. pollen is transferred from one plant to another. The most common method involves insects that are attracted to the flowers for their nectar. Pollen grains stick to the insects’ bodies and are effectively transferred from one plant to another as the insect moves from flower to flower. Other, less attractive types of flower, use wind to transport their pollen.

Fact File:

The flowers of orchids are highly specialized for pollination by insects. When the insect pushes into the flower to reach the nectar, the pollinia stick onto its head.


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