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Canada Lily Pollinator

r-b hummingbird at Canada lilies 600A commonly held belief is that in order to be cross-pollinated, flowers have evolved to attract certain pollinators, including wind, mammals, birds and insects. These traits, or “pollination syndromes,” include the flower shape, color, odor, amount of nectar and flowering time. Flowers attractive to hummingbirds tend to be large, tubular-shaped and colored red, orange (or sometimes yellow). These flowers usually have a large supply of dilute nectar, which they secrete during the day. Since birds do not have a strong response to scent, the flowers they visit tend to be odorless.

Canada Lilies, found throughout eastern North America, have a distinct tubular shape, which appeals to Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Their long, thin beak allows these birds to reach nectar at the base of the flower that is inaccessible to many other creatures. In order to reach the nectar, the hummingbird must enter the flower far enough so that its neck and breast press up against the orange pollen-laden anthers of the Canada Lily. When the hummingbird moves on to the next Canada Lily flower, it is very likely that some of this pollen will end up on the flower’s female structure, or stigma, thereby pollinating the flower. (Note that the stigma, in the center of the flower, is taller than the anthers, thereby discouraging self-pollination.)

3 responses

  1. Cathy Miles Grant

    Isn’t this just lovely? Happy Anniversary, dearest Charlie. Much love, Your Cathode

    July 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

  2. Nannette Orr

    this makes me think of you — I am home now – did you get out to see about that lily? I’d like to be offering to guide you there, but I now have a broken toe and it wouldn’t be good to walk that distance. I could build you to the sanctuary and I could also see if Alan would be able to come. I also think I could draw you a pretty good map. This sanctuary does have less deer damage than many places we go around here, so you may find other things you like..


    July 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

  3. Doreen Morse

    I have also seen the Ruby-throated hummingbird visiting Solomon Seal in my garden when it is in bloom…those flowers are mostly white and green.

    July 15, 2013 at 11:50 am

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