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Pollination and Floral Ecology$
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Pat Willmer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128610

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128610.001.0001

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date: 13 December 2017

Rewards 1: The Biology of Pollen

Rewards 1: The Biology of Pollen

Chapter:
(p.154) Chapter 7 Rewards 1: The Biology of Pollen
Source:
Pollination and Floral Ecology
Author(s):

Pat Willmer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691128610.003.0007

This chapter examines the biology of pollen, the primary reward for flowers in an evolutionary sense and probably the resource for which animals first went to flowers. The inherent characteristics of pollen make it a useful resource to exploit as food, potentially collectable by almost any animal. It remains a crucial reward for pollen-eating and pollen-gathering visitors, such as some flies, some beetles, and virtually all bees. Pollen’s function as a reward of visitors is mutually incompatible with its function in reproduction. The chapter first describes the characteristics of pollen grains before discussing the storage and delivery of pollen in the plant. It then considers pollen packaging, pollen gathering by animals, pollen as food, and pollen preferences. It also explores the longevity and viability of pollen, pollen-only flowers, and pollen competition. Finally, it reflects on the question of how much pollen a plant “should” produce.

Keywords:   pollen biology, reward, flower, pollen packaging, pollen gathering, animal, pollen eating, pollen competition

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