Nature Notes

Versatility in Pollination

The pollinators are busy!

COVID-19 Update: The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is open in a limited capacity. Find updates and information here

By Sydney Chandler

The pollinators are busy! Lots of flowers open wide with brilliant colors welcoming the visits of bees and other pollinators. The bees are particularly fun to watch as they interact with flowers in different ways.

Chinese Astilbe: Dancing

In a cluster of Chinese astilbe flowers, the bee looks as if it were at the end of a feather duster. It wiggles through the soft purple flowers while simultaneously shimmying quickly left, right, and downward on the plant. It’s movement similar to a dog gleefully rolling in a great-smelling patch of grass!

Lamb’s Ear: Checking Hat Sizes

The diligent bee working to pollinate the Lamb’s Ear flowers tells a bee-themed adaptation of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Imagine it checking each flower to see if the small upper petal will be a suitable hat. Too big, too small, too long, too purple . . . perhaps one of these flowers will be just right!

Hosta: Portals to Another World

The bee dives headfirst into the open flowers of the hosta plant; its body disappears from view as it reaches for the rich nectar inside. After a moment, the bee emerges and flies off to another flower. But during those few seconds, was the bee perhaps transported into another world?! This Bee World was full of even more wonderful flowers with brilliant colors, tantalizing smells, and delicious nectar. We can be lucky the bees return from this fictional fantasy world to support pollination here!

Coneflower: Tap Dancing

Atop the coneflower, a bee delicately tap dances its way along to different sections of the disc floret. It pauses periodically but continuously collects pollen on the heavily coated tibia of its hind leg. The bee performs its dance to silent music on this flower stage. After its performance, it moves on to a new stage for another pollen-themed dance!

How wonderfully amazing that bees are so versatile in their interactions with flowers!

Sydney Chandler is a Minnesota master Naturalist Volunteer.

2 comments on “Versatility in Pollination

  1. Yay for the bees! Thanks for this.

  2. Pingback: Arb Links, vol. 24 | News from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: