Cross-pollination is an important procedure in gardening. It has been used to create hybrid plants.
The process has been used to acquire desired characteristics of plants. It is a process that comes in different varieties.
What is cross-pollination?
Let us first understand what it means by cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is the application of pollen from the male to the female part of the same flower.
The flower produces its pollen and attaches it to the anthers. The anthers then release the pollen to the stigma for pollination to happen.
Pollination can happen either naturally or assisted. Pollinating agents aid the natural process of cross-pollination. Among the common agents include birds, bees, and other small mammals like squirrels.
Pollination is entirely dependent on the efficiency of natural forces. This is the most common type of pollination.
Manual pollination is the intervention that gardeners make to pollinate the plants. The gardeners select the different varieties of pollen to combine.
It is worked out to attain the desired characteristics of a plant. This type of pollination is considered as deliberate and with a desired objective.
Ways of flower Cross-Pollination
It is important to understand the different types of cross-pollination.
Pollination by insects is known in scientific terms as entomophagy. This is a pollination that different insects aid.
Pollination by insects is identified as the most common type in farms. Nearly eighty percent of the plants in farms are insect pollinated. The insects are friendly to the plants.
Among the common insects that aid in pollination are bees, butterflies, and wasps. These are insects that are common in farms. They are also quick and fast pollinators. The insects are preferred because pollination is effortless. The farmers do not need to be involved.
Insects aid in pollination because of their body structures. Many insects have hairy bodies. The pollen is attached to the hairs and transported by the insects as they fly. The pollen is also deposited easily on other plants.
The insects are also winged. They create a buzzing sound using these wings. The buzz is good for releasing pollen from the plant anthers. That is why the insects are known as the fastest pollinators.
Plants pollinated by insects
Insect pollination is common for flowery and fruity plants. These are plants that have bright flowers. The flowers have bright colors to assist in attracting more insects.
The flowers also produce great scents. These scents are also good at attracting different types of insects.
The plants pollinated by insects also produce sweet nectar. The insects visit the flowers to suck nectar. This is common with honey bees. The pollen is attached to the wings and hairy legs of the insects as they dig in for nectar.
Among the common plants that the insects pollinate include:
- Rose flower
These are among the plants that attract almost all types of insects. Other plants, including the hibiscus, are well-pollinated by insects.
They have large, good-looking flowers with long stigmas. This makes it easier for the insects to access the inside of the flowers and thus makes pollination more efficient.
Pollination by wind is known in scientific terms as anemophily. This is the pollination that is aided by the wind processes. Pollination happens when the wind blows and transports the pollen from one flower to another.
The plants pollinated by the wind depend on the efficiency of the air currents. It is known that there are varieties of plants that rely on the wind for pollination. However, these are plants that are mostly in an open garden.
Wind pollinated plants
Grasses and cereal crops are among the majority of the plants that are wind pollinated. These are plants that are small in size. The plants have light petals that are easily brown by the wind. The plants do not have any peasant smells of bright colors.
Wind-pollinated plants have lightweight pollen. This is important to assist with easier transportation. The plants also expose their anthers and stigma for easier access. This allows the wind to blow the nectar with minimal resistance.
Wind-pollinated plants also produce large amounts of pollen. It helps in increasing the chances of positive pollination. However, most of the pollen is lost.
The chances that another flower will catch the pollen are high. The airborne nature of the pollen also allows it to stay in the air for longer.
The wind pollinated plants also have feathery stigmas feathery. It helps in easily catching the pollen from the air. Among the popular wind-pollinated plants include:
These are all plants that are planted in the open garden. They mature quickly and produce large amounts of pollen. The plants are also lightweight. The wind easily blows them. This assist in releasing the pollen when matured.
Pollination by water is known in scientific terms as hydrophily. This is pollination that is aided by water movements. It is a rare type of pollination.
This pollination only works for plants that grow in water areas. This includes streams and rivers. There are two main types of water pollination.
- Surface pollination
Surface pollination is when the pollen floats on the water. This is from the plants that grow on the water’s surface. The pollen lasts longer and can wait until it contacts a flower. This type of pollination is known as hydrophily.
- Submerged pollination
Submerged pollination is a rare type of water pollination. This happens for plants that grow submerged in water. It is responsible for at least two percent of the plants that grow in water. It is very common for waterweeds that grow underwater.
Examples of water-pollinated flowers
Among the plants that are mostly pollinated by water include:
- Eelgrass (Vallisneria)
- Water Starwort (Callitriche)
- Water Thyme (Hydrilla)
- Ditch Grasses (Ruppia)
- Waterweeds (Elodea)
A common characteristic of these plants is that they do well in shallow waters. These are plants that detach the male flowers when they mature. The male plants float in water and contact the female part.
The success of pollination is mostly dependent on the water currents. It is also dependent on the quality of the pollen. Pollen with great longevity increases the chances of pollination success.
Pollination by animals is also known scientifically as zoophily. This is a process of pollinating plants aided by different animals.
The plants that depend on animals for pollination produce nectar. The nectar has a good scent that attracts these animals. This is commonly linked to small mammals.
The search for concentrated sugar solution necessitates animal pollination. The animals have specific body features that increase the chances of pollination.
Among these include the long beaks of the birds. These features allow for easier access to the nectar. While digging for nectar, the animals carry the pollen involuntarily.
Plants pollinated by animals
Among the common animals that help with pollination include birds, bats, and small mammals. These animals look for food in the flowers and plants.
Some animals are looking for shelter and mates. In their activities, these animals collect pollen and deposit it in other plants.
Among the common plants that animals pollinate include:
Among these plants are habitats for the animals. They also produce fruits that are edible for some animals. This makes them accessible to the animals that assist with pollination. The plants are also habitable for different species of animals.
Ornithophily is the scientific term used to define pollination by birds. The different types of birds aid this pollination method. The process of bird pollination is an easy one. It happens naturally in all the flowery plants.
The birds visit the plants in search of nectar from the flowers. The plants have nectar hidden inside the flowers.
The pollen sticks to their bodies as the birds dig in for the nectar. They then transport the nectar involuntarily as they visit other flowers in search of more nectar.
Plants pollinated by birds
Most of the plants that birds and flowery pollinate. They also produce fruits that are brightly colored. These plants attract a variety of birds.
The bird-pollinated plants have a strong and sturdy shape. This allows the birds to perch on them as they look for nectar.
The bird-pollinated plants also have a unique shape of flowers. The flowers are rounded and have a tube-like shape.
The birds can use their beaks to dig deep and access the nectar. These plants are also brightly colored.
Among the common type of plants that birds pollinate include:
- Cardinal flower
- Red Columbine
- Trumpet vine
There are also many other members of the bird-pollinated plants. All these plants attract a variety of bug pollinators. They also have all the features that attract birds easily, including sweet nectar and bright colors.
Self-pollination is the process by which a plant transfers the pollen grain from its male to female parts. This is a type of pollination that is common in bisexual plants. Bisexual plants have male and female parts in the flower.
Some plants self-pollinate within the same flower. These plants do not rely on pollinating agents. The anthers are well placed to drop the pollen on the stigma. It works naturally without or with minimal assistance from natural forces.
Among the plants known to self-pollinate include wheat, rice and tomatoes. These plants have the male and female parts close to each other. They easily drop the pollen on the female part and pollinate.
These are among the common plants across many gardens. The farmers have a preference for such plants. They are considered favorites because of the minimal efforts required in the production process.
Type of pollination that is most preferred
There is no specific type of pollination that is preferred among the farmers. This is because of the different types that work in diverse ways. The results are also different from one type to the other.
That is why it is necessary to know each pollination method. It makes it better for the farmer to select the preferred method.
Type 1: Insects pollination
Insect pollination has dominated among the other types. It is noted as the easiest method of pollinating plants. This is because the farmers do not have to intervene. They do not make any efforts to assist with the pollination process.
The insects pollinate the majority of the plants. They are likened to the best pollinators. This includes the honey bees.
They are busy bees that move quickly across the flowers to pollinate. A variety of flowers also attracts honey bees. They are the most preferred method of pollination.
Type 2: Wind pollination
The other type that is mostly preferred is wind pollination. This is also a type of pollination that occurs naturally. The farmer does not need to be involved.
This process is also preferred because it facilitates mass pollination. Many plants can pollinate when the wind blows across a farm.
The overall view is that the preferred methods of pollination are simple. They only need a little effort to happen. They are, however, dependent on the forces of nature. They are mostly preferred in large commercial farms.
The unusual methods of pollination
One of the most unusual methods of pollination is pollination by water. This is commonly referred to as hydrophily.
Hydrophily is an unusual method because of how it works. It is expected that pollen can dissolve in water. But the pollen in hydrophily is waxed and easily floats on water.
This pollination is common in aquatic environments. Rivers and streams are among the areas where it happens. The plants have a unique way of releasing the pollen.
Vallisneria is the most known plant that is linked to hydrophily. Check out for more information about this unusual pollination across the articles on gardening and cross-pollination.
As a reflection of the article, there are different types of cross-pollination. Each plant is viewed as having a unique way of pollinating its flower.
It is valuable to keep tabs on the different ways that pollination occurs. This is relevant for making the right selection for your plants.