Bees Need Not Apply

Colourful flowers, sweet perfume, honeyed nectar — like a savvy marketer’s plan, they’re designed to attract business: bee business.

Bees and other animals are essential for pollination. No pollination? No apples or oranges. No almonds, blueberries or broccoli. Forget grapes, kiwi, potatoes, tomatoes and watermelon. Your plate would be empty.

Not so wellknown is the other side of this life-sustaining coin: wind pollination.

Anemophily (if you like new words) gives us wheat, rice, rye, corn and barley. Think pine, spruce, fir, oak. Toss in the grasses and sedges. All this and more depends on wind to disperse pollen.

Even a dragonfly’s wings can loose the light, dry grains and send them journeying. Pump up the speed with a passing car and imagine how far they could go.

Those purple dangles in the photo? Pollen producers (anthers, for the botanist). They’re not as colourful on many plants but they’re there.

Check out a ditch or a lawn this week. Surprise yourself.