Pollinators are those animals that give the invaluable service of helping plants reproduce and create seed or fruit that humans and others eat.
There are many pollinators including bats, bees, beetles, birds and butterflies.
The flower type, shape, color, odor, nectar, and structure vary and attract different pollinators according to the pollinators likes and needs. Such characteristics are pollination syndromes.
With this information you can predict which animals are most like to visit which plant.
Pollinator syndromes aren’t always correct but are used as a starting place to predict interactions. Apparently, only one-third of plants can be accurately classified according to pollinator syndromes.
Here is an example.
Butterflies tend to visit flat blossoms with many nectar sources or small flowers. The flatness of the blossom provides a nice stable landing pad. Butterflies like asters, sedums, milkweeds and coneflowers for those reasons.
Bees like blossoms that give plenty of nectar and lure the bees in with a sweet fragrance. They tend to visit flowers white or blue. Hummingbirds tend to visit red, tubular shaped flowers.
Use the chart below to help explain why certain plants attract bees, butterflies or other animals.
|POLLINATOR SYNDROME TRAITS TABLE|
|Color||Dull white, green or purple||Bright white, yellow, blue, or UV||Dull white or green||Scarlet, orange, red or white||Bright, including red and purple||Pale and dull to dark brown or purple; flecked with translucent patches||Pale and dull red, purple, pink or white||Dull green, brown, or colorless; petals absent or reduced|
|Odor||Strong musty; emitted at night||Fresh, mild, pleasant||None to strongly fruity or fetid||None||Faint but fresh||Putrid||Strong sweet; emitted at night||None|
|Nectar||Abundant; somewhat hidden||Usually present||Sometimes present; not hidden||Ample; deeply hidden||Ample; deeply hidden||Usually absent||Ample; deeply hidden||None|
|Pollen||Ample||Limited; often sticky and scented||Ample||Modest||Limited||Modest in amount||Limited||Abundant; small, smooth, and not sticky|
|Flower Shape||Regular; bowl shaped – closed during day||Shallow landing platform; tubular,||Large bowl-like, Magnolia||Large funnel like; cups, strong perch support||Narrow tube with spur; wide landing pad||Shallow; funnel like or complex and trap-like||Regular; tubular without a lip||Regular: small and stigmas exerted|
The table is courtesy the U.S. Forest Service’s Celebrating Wildflowers site.
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/syndromes.shtml#traits – Accessed on 26 October 2008.
Originally posted previously.