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Understanding Flower Pollination

Look outside and you're likely to see many different types of flowers; especially if it's spring or summer. Flowers are colorful, beautiful to look at, and they are pretty much everywhere you look; like in a garden, on the side of the road, or in a field. As much as people enjoy looking at and picking flowers, they grow on plants for a very important reason. The very things that we like about flowers, like their color, smell, and even shape, are all there to help flowers perform a very specific job. If you want to know what that job is, you'll need to first understand pollination and the importance of flower pollination to plants and the world around them.

What is Pollination?

There are several parts of the flower that you'll need to know, so that the pollination definition will make sense to you; these parts are the stamen and the pistil. The stamen is the name given to the male part of the plant. It is where the part of the plant called the anther is found. The anther is where pollen is found.

The pistil is the female part of the plant. At the top of the pistil is the stigma, which is very sticky. The plant's ovary is inside of the pistil at its base. The ovary holds the ovule that is needed for fertilization. Now that you know what the main parts are you can better understand the pollination definition, the movement of pollen from the anther to the stigma to allow fertilization to occur.

Why is it Important?

Flower pollination is very important, because it allows plants reproduce. When something reproduces it is making more of itself; so, when the pollination of a flower happens, seeds are created and more plants will be able to grow. As a result, pollination helps plants survive and continue thriving into the future. Pollination also helps the planet stay green and provides food for people and animals.

The Mechanics of Pollination

When you study the mechanics of flower and plant pollination is simple; the pollen from a plant's anther needs to reach the stigma of a flower that is of the same kind, so that it can fertilize the plant and reproduce. The pollen is carried to the stigma by wind, rain, animals, or insects, and sticks to the stigma. To reach the ovule and complete the pollination of a flower, the pollen on the stigma creates a tube that leads down to the ovary where the ovule is located. Once there, the pollen will fertilize the ovule and create the seeds that are needed to grow.

The Types of Pollination

There are several different types of pollination to learn about: two of these types are called self-pollination and cross-pollination. Self-pollination occurs when a plant can fertilize itself by moving pollen from its anther to its stigma. This type of pollination is rare, meaning it doesn't happen that often. Cross-pollination is the way that plant pollination happens most of the time.

It happens when pollen is moved from one flower to another flower of the same type. Biotic and abiotic pollination are two ways in which pollination happens. Biotic pollination depends on living things, like bees, to move pollen, while abiotic pollination does not. For example, with abiotic pollination wind moves the pollen from one plant to another.


Without pollinators, most plant pollination cannot happen. A pollinator is typically an insect and it does all of the work, when it comes to moving pollen from one flower to another. Bees make up a majority of pollinators; however, they aren't the only ones. According to Pollinate Live, in addition to bees there are wasps, butterflies, and more than 100,000 other insects that help pollinate plants. It's important to note that insects aren't the only ones responsible for this important job; animals, such as bats and birds are also classified as pollinators.

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