By Kathie Martel Goldsmith
Children as young as the third grade understand the basic concept of pollination. They understand that pretty flowers attract insects that stop in for a snack. In the process of gathering snacks from each flower, the bees inadvertently distribute pollen to neighboring flowers….voila: the garden is colorful!
In older children studying biology or botany, they come to learn that all flowers produce fruit. If you see a flower today, you will see a fruit tomorrow.
Whoa! You mean Grandma’s irises are going to serve me up an apple pie some day?
Well no, of course not. Botanically speaking, the fruit of a flower is its matured ovary.
You know that corncob you’re going to eat at the family picnic next weekend? It’s really just a fist full of mature plant ovaries.
What about lemons? Blueberries?? Avocado???
Ovaries! Ovaries!! Ovaries!!!
Why do ovaries matter?
Ovaries are important because many flowering plants reproduce sexually. Because they are stuck in the ground it dating rituals like dinner and a movie out of the question. Therefore, they need a little help.
That’s where the pollinators come in.
Pollinators such as bees, birds, bats, and other insects act as matchmakers to plants that reproduce sexually. Pollinators visit flowers for nourishment and in the process of moving from flower to flower, pollen gets stuck on their bodies and intermingles with other flowers, which then kicks off the first step to fertilization.
The greatest and most effective of all pollinators is the honeybee. Bees visit about 2,000 blossoms a day delivering bits of pollen from one plant to the other. Obviously, this would be an impossible task to do by the human hand (but on the upside, it would help with our obesity rate).
So if those ovaries don’t get fertilized (pollinized) you can kiss that Eggplant Parmesan goodbye.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, what of it? Eggplant Parmesan baked to perfection, served with a side of lightly salted avocado slices, accompanied by a refreshing glass of lemonade sweetened with a touch of mint, and followed with a stuffed-to-the-edges blueberry cobbler really ain’t my thing.” Fair enough. But it doesn’t stop there.
Here is a list of plants that are pollinated by honeybees. Don’t miss the point here—without bees, we wouldn’t have these foods.
Consider not what you like or don’t like to consume, but rather the potential for disastrous health along with economic and cultural losses that we could suffer if we lose these foods.
Think about it, and think of the bees. We need them. They are not as beholden to us as we are to them.
For more information about the foods and plants pollinated by Honeybees, visit this link:
Black currant, Red currant
Chilli pepper, Red pepper, Bell pepper, Green pepper
Clover (not all species)
Coffea spp. Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora
|CottonCowpea, Black-eyed pea, Blackeye bean
Guar bean, Goa bean
Pigeon pea, Cajan pea,
Plum, Greengage, Mirabelle, Sloe
Rose hips, Dogroses
Squash (plant), Pumpkin, Gourd, Marrow, Zuchini