Trick or treat: plants that beat up bees
The orchid family, Orchidaceae, contains over 750 genera, yet it is the Catasetum genus that has earned a description from non other than Darwin himself as ‘the most remarkable of all Orchids’. Probably because, while other pollinated plants like to offer their pollinators a treat, Catasetum orchids also bring the trick.… Read more
There might have been a wasp in your fig – but don’t throw it away!
Although we like to focus our attention on plants, we can’t really discuss their life without also discussing the way plants interact with their pollinators. There are plenty of weird relationships out there, including those involving flowers that fake it, and stories of nectar thieves. But one of the weirdest has got to be the case of figs and self-sacrificing wasps.… Read more
The bite of the bumblebee
Bees and plants have a strange kind of codependency going on. Plants need bees for pollinating, and bees need pollen to feed their young. So it’s helpful for both parties if everyone involved can coordinate their calendars.
But if the flowers are lacking and the bees get hungry, well then, that’s when the bees begin to bite.… Read more
Choice of the bees: pollinator pressure and flower colour
The other day, my friend and I were musing over the fact that many flowering plants require a third party pollinator in order to complete the fairly simple act of reproducing. And that while this sexual ‘three-or-moresome’ has some pretty great advantages, it also forces plants to spend a fair amount of energy just in attracting the middle men.… Read more
Pagoda lily: the birds, the bees and… the mice???
This week on the podcast, Joram is introducing his new favourite plant, the Pagoda lily or Whiteheadia bifolia, which has been shown in a study to be pollinated by the Namaqua Rock Mouse. … Read more