Function: Pollination

Pollination is a process of transferring pollen from the male stamen to the female pistil in a flower. Some plant species are pollinated abiotically with the help of wind or water. Most species, nevertheless, are pollinated biotically. In Finland nearly all biotic pollination is done by insects.

Colored petals and strong scent in a flower have developed to attract insects, most commonly bees or wasps but also some other species groups such as butterflies, moths and flies. Insects use pollen as a nutrition but as they collect it by flying from flower to flower they also inseminate the plants with one another. Many plants are capable of self-pollination but the cross-pollination produces more vital and competitive offspring and is thus preferred among plants.

The success of pollination can be measured by the share of flowers developing into fruit. Indirectly, pollination can also be measured by the abundance and species richess of pollinators. A study conducted in the US revelealed that  the number of bee species present during blooming had a positive correlation with pollination success. For each additional wild bee species, 0.8% more blossoms developed into fruit.


Mallinger, R. E., & Gratton, C. 2014. Species richness of wild bees, but not the use of managed honeybees, increases fruit set of a pollinator-dependent crop. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI:10.1111/1365-2664.12377.




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