What are pollinators?

A pollinator is anything that helps fertilize plants through the transfer of pollen. Fertilized plants produce fruits and seeds. Over 80% of the world's flowering plants reproduce with the help of pollinators!

Source: Pollinators. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2020, from https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/

Watch this excerpt from the film

"Wings of Life" to see pollinators in action! 

The plants below can be found in our collection. Hover over them to learn about their pollinators!

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This stinky plant is pollinated by flies! Carrion scented flowers trap and temporarily imprison flies, covering them with pollen before they are released.


Source: Sakai, Shoko. (2002). Pollinators of Aristolochia spp. (Aristolochiaceae) breeding on decomposing flowers. American journal of botany. 89. 527-34. 10.3732/ajb.89.3.527. 

"Rooster Flower"
Aristolochia labiata


Many banana species are pollinated by birds, like this Long-billed Spiderhunter. 

Source: Musa x paradisiaca . (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Musa+x+paradisiaca

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Musa x paradisiaca

These exotic beauties attract birds, bees, and butterflies! 

Source: Japanese lantern. (2019, April 16). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.edenproject.com/learn/for-everyone/plant-profiles/japanese-lantern

"Chinese Lantern"
Hibiscus schizopetalus

This orchid is named after Charles Darwin, who hypothesized that its pollinator must have a long proboscis. Decades later, scientists discovered the Hawk Moth, which does indeed have a long proboscis! The relationship between the Darwin orchid and the Hawk Moth is considered to be an example of co-evolution. 

Watch the video above to see the Hawk Moth in action!


Source: Newman, J. H. (2020, January 30). Darwin's Star Orchid. Retrieved April 22, 2020, from https://www.nybg.org/blogs/plant-talk/2012/03/exhibit-news/darwins-garden/darwins-star-orchid/

"Darwin Orchid"
Angraecum sesquipedale 

Traveler's Trees are pollinated by the world's largest pollinator, the Ruffed Lemur!

Source: Unusual Animal Pollinators. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/animals/unusual.shtml

"Traveler's Tree"
Ravenala madagascariensis 

Sensitive Plants are pollinated by a variety of insects, including the bumblebee pictured above. This ticklish beauty has a trick up her sleeve- she has the ability to shy away from pests!

Source: Mimosa pudica. (2019, November 21). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/34202

"Sensitive Plant"
Mimosa pudica 

Flamingo plants attract hummingbirds,

like this Tawney-bellied Hermit! 

Source: Justicia carnea. (2019). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://conservatoryofflowers.org/bloom/justicia-carnea/

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"Flamingo Plant"
Justicia carnea 

This night-blooming cactus is pollinated by moths and bats. Pollinated flowers produce yummy dragon fruits! 





Source: Hylocereus undatus. (2019, November 19). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/27317

"Dragon Fruit"
Hylocereus undatus 

These shrimp-like flowers attract many pollinators, including the butterflies and hummingbirds shown above. 


Source: Brantley, P. (2012, September 26). A Yellow Gem. Retrieved April 24, 2020, from https://ucanr.edu/blogs/USS/index.cfm?tagname=shrimp plant

"Lollipop Flower"
Pachystachys lutea 

The Sword-billed hummingbird pollinates these beautifully-scented flowers!


Source: Skeleton of Sword-billed Hummingbird. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/slater-museum/biodiversity-resources/birds/skeleton-of-sword-billed-hummi/

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"Angel's Trumpit"
Brugmansia hybrid