- Anthers: the male part of the plant
- Stigma: the female part of the plant
- Pollen: the fertilizing element of flowering plants, consisting of fine, powdery, yellowish grains or spores, sometimes in masses
- Pollinator: an agent of pollen transfer (bees, insects, people)
WHAT IS POLLINATION?
Pollination is a crucial part of plant reproduction. Pollen from a flower’s anthers drops or rubs onto a pollinator. The pollinator takes this pollen to another flower and the pollen sticks to the stigma. This fertilizes the flower, which later yields fruit. This can occur through self-pollination, wind and water pollination, and from pollinators.
WHAT IS SELF-POLLINATION AND CROSS-POLLINATION?
Self-pollination occurs when the pollen from the anther is deposited on the stigma of the same flower or another flower on the same plant. If a plant is self-fertile, the plant can produce fruit with its own pollen and does not need to be interplanted with different varieties to promote cross-pollination. While self-pollinating crop species do not require pollinators, there is evidence that shows they can benefit from cross-pollination by insects.
Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower on a different individual. A vector such as insects, wind, or animals moves the pollen. During cross-pollination, pollinators may visit several flowers on one plant or may visit several flowers of the same species on a few different plants.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE PLANTS I GET FROM NOURSE FARMS?
Self-fertile: strawberries, brambles, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, gooseberries
Cross-pollination required: elderberries. We recommend using a 4 Samdal:1 Samyl for best yields.
In-between: blueberries. While blueberries will still yield without cross-pollination, blueberry plants respond well to cross-pollination. We encourage you to plant more than one blueberry variety that blooms at a similar time to improve production.
Currants: Currants are considered “mostly” self-fertile. We recommend planting at least two varieties of currants for larger yields.
- beetles; and
WHAT'S THE BUZZ ALL ABOUT?
Blueberry plants release their pollen through two tiny pores in each anther. Bees bite the anthers, hold tight, and buzz to shake the pollen out of the flowers. Bumblebees propel thousands of pollen grains from a flower in under a second by using a middle C tone.
DID YOU KNOW?
130+ agricultural crops are pollinated by bees in the United States.
70% of crops eaten by humans are pollinated by bees.
33% of food we eat come from bee pollinated plants.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE BEES?
Honeybees are the most important natural carriers of pollen. Over the last 75 years, bee populations have decreased by over 50%. Fewer bees means less food per year because bees are responsible for commercial food production.
WHY ARE THEY DISAPPEARING?
- Harmful chemicals
- Monoculture farming
- Habitat loss
- Bee diseases
HOW CAN YOU HELP POLLINATORS HELP YOUR PLANTS?
Planting seasonal cover crops can provide supplemental nutrition to both your soil and your bees. Cover crops may increase crop yields and better the longevity of your soil.
Plant a pollinator patch.
Planting native seeds and crops can help boost your surrounding environment. Using a wide variety of native plants that are adapted to your local climate, soil, and native pollinators will help pollinators.
Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.
Pesticides and insecticides kill bees and damage their ability to reproduce. If you must use a pesticide, reach for the least toxic material possible.