November 30, 2009

Love is in the air

Filed under: Internet, misc., Photography — Jonathan @ 11:20 am

“As humans we take many things for granted. One is surely the ability to walk, crawl, or even, after a little too much to drink, drag ourselves over to a lovely member of the opposite sex. Plants have no such luxury. For much of the long history of green life on land, plants had to be near each other, touching almost, to mate.”

National Geographic has a surprisingly non-erotic history and photo gallery all about plant reproduction and pollen. Although most of us simply think of pollen as the yellow stuff on our car or that cloud in the air that is making us sneeze, when magnified it can be quite interesting.

“In the 300,000 pollen-bearing plant species on Earth, there are 300,000 different forms of pollen. The great variety in colors, shapes, and textures of the grains has evolved in accordance with each plant’s biological particulars. Beetle-pollinated plants tend to have smooth, sticky pollen, the better to adhere to the lumbering beetles’ backs. Plants pollinated by fast-moving bees or flies may have spiny pollen that lodges easily between the insects’ hairs. Plants pollinated by bigger animals, such as bats, sometimes have bigger pollen, though not always — perhaps not even most of the time. In the details of pollen’s variety, more remains to be explained than is understood.”

View the photo gallery: link
Read the article: link

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