Who Are Flowers Trying To Seduce?


Since most plants are rooted in place, they
can’t reproduce by attracting other members of their species. Instead, they rely on outside
forces to transport their tiny pollen grains from male flower parts to female ones. One
of nature’s weirdest flowers, the stinking corpse lily, mimics rotting meat to lure carrion
flies from one plant to another. The vibrant yellows and blues of certain flowers
match up with the parts of the color spectrum where a bee’s vision is most sensitive.
Because bees are stellar smellers, these flowers also spritz out a tempting perfume to draw
them in. And many bee-pollinated plants offer convenient, ultraviolet-marked landing pads
where the pudgy pollinators can rest while snagging nectar and pollen.
The vibrant yellows and blues of certain flowers match up with the parts of the color spectrum
where a bee’s vision is most sensitive. And many bee-pollinated plants offer convenient,
ultraviolet-marked landing pads where the pudgy pollinators can rest while snagging
nectar and pollen. Because bees are stellar smellers, these flowers also spritz out a
tempting perfume to draw them in. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, have a lousy
sense of smell but an excellent memory for food sources, so flowers that cater to them
keep them coming back by churning out a steady supply of sweet nectar, which they stash in
deep tubes to ensure a pollen swap with each visit. These flowers’ hues keep their nectar
safe from red-blind bees, who might otherwise snag the sugary reward without picking up
pollen. Other flowers bloom at night, bearing bright-white
petals and potent smells that draw moths and bats in the dark. Still others grow close
to the ground and give off a yeasty scent to lure in rodent pollinators.
And some plants forgo animals entirely, instead making it easy for wind or water to spread
their pollen far and wide. Of course, many plants have multiple pollinators,
and most pollinators tend to more than one kind of plant. But almost every plant is continuously
evolving to maximize its pollination potential, and as a result, their flowers hint at who
– or what – moves most of their pollen. Because for plants, the birds and the bees really
is all about the birds and the bees… and the carrion flies.
Hey, this is Kate from MinuteEarth. Now that you’ve watched this video, consider taking
a second to snap some photos of flowers – whether they’re outside or in a vase – and let us
know who, or what, you think pollinates them. You can post your guesses on social media
using the hashtag #FlowerSeduction – we’d love to see what you can find! Also, did you
know that we’ve started adding more information to our video descriptions? There, you’ll
find related links we love and definitions of terms like hydrophily, nectar guides, and
others that will help your knowledge blossom. And, as always, thanks to our supporters on
Patreon who made this video possible.

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