About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What is pollen?

Scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), prairie hollyhock (Sidalcea malviflora), oriental lily (Lilium auratum), evening primrose (Oenothera fruticosa), and castor bean (Ricinus communis).
I’ve never had a problem with pollen other than having to clean up what looks like a fine yellow dust off of everything. The cats at Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing however always seem to break out when the pollen starts to fly unless I give them daily baths.

Lots of plants produce pollen as a way to reproduce. In order for seeds to be produced, the pollen must be transferred from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower.

Some plants called entimophilous disperse their pollen from plant to plant with the help of birds and bees. They tend to have large, showy, and brightly-colored flowers, to attract pollinators.

Other plants called anemophilous disperse their pollen with the help of the wind. It is the wind-pollinated plants that usually cause allergies. The flowers of these plants tend to be small and the pollen very lightweight.

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