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The Garden Scoop

The Garden Scoop is a collection of reflections about the Master Gardeners in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion.
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A Primer on Pollinators, Part 2 - Why do Plants need Pollinators?

Did you miss part one? Click here to read the first entry in this series.

As a refresher: A pollinator is any animal that fertilizes a plant by moving the pollen (or male parts) of one flower to the stigma (or female parts) of another.

The methods of pollination sound fairly simple at first: As these animals travel from flower to flower searching for food, they move pollen around between plants. The pollen is transferred from the anther (male part of the flower) to the stigma (the female part) and is what starts the process of fruit and seed production. However, this process can be much more complicated than that.

Over many, many years plants and their pollinators have developed highly complex relationships. Some plants (such as squash or melons) have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. This arrangement requires the pollen to be transferred between flowers by insects.

Other plants (like my favorite tree, the ginkgo) have entirely separate male and female plants, with the male plants providing the pollen while the female plants produce the fruit and seeds.

Stranger still, some plants (like tomatoes) have both male and female parts within the same flower and are capable of self-pollinating themselves without needing pollen from another plant.

These varied and often complex arrangements are usually combined with brightly colored flowers and strong fragrances that help plants to attract a broad range of pollinators.

Don't forget about the first session of the Ford-Iroquois Summer Series on Monday, June 15 at 7:00 pm at Moyer District Library located at 618 S. Sangamon Ave. in Gibson City. We hope to see you there!

Each session is free to attend, but pre-registration is requested. To register, call our office at (815) 268-4051 or click here to register online. Do you want to promote the Community Education Series at a local business? If so, click here to download the series flyer.

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