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Plant Structure, Function, and Use

Flowers

How does a plant attract agents of pollination?

Agents of pollination include not only insects, but spiders, birds, and other animals. In general, the plants use color and fragrances as attractants to lure the majority of these agents. For example, a few orchids use a combination of smell and color to mimic the female of certain species of bees and wasps so successfully that the corresponding males will attempt to mate with them. Through this process (pseudocopulation), the orchids achieve pollination. While some plants cater to a variety of agents, other plants are very selective and are pollinated by a single species of insect only. This extreme pollinator specificity tends to maintain the purity of a plant species.



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