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Trout-Lily’s Pollinators

5-7-14 trout lily pollinator IMG_1725Like Bloodroot and many other spring ephemerals, Trout-Lily (also known as Dog-tooth Violet and Adder’s Tongue) remains closed at night and on overcast days. On sunny days, bees are its main pollinators, but it is visited by many other insects, including Red-necked False Blister Beetles that feed on both its pollen and ovules.

When a bee visits a Trout-Lily flower, it usually removes half of the available pollen in one visit. In no apparent hurry, it often pauses in the middle of collecting to groom itself and pack pollen into the pollen baskets on its hind legs. It then heads directly back to its hive to unload the pollen. Unfortunately for the Trout Lily, this hampers cross-pollination, as it severely limits the amount of pollen that reaches other Trout Lily flowers. As compensation, Trout Lily has two sets of anthers – one set opens one day, the other opens the next, preventing a bee from collecting all the pollen from a given flower in one day, giving other insects the opportunity to cross-pollinate. (Photo: Red-necked False Blister Beetle)

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4 responses

  1. Pingback: Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health | The Balsamean

  2. I love reading your blog – I always learn something new. What a marvelous adaptation – two sets of anthers!

    May 10, 2014 at 2:35 am

  3. judilindsey@comcast.net

    Mary,

     I sure enjoyed your talk Thursday at the Puritan restaurant in Manchester. Your photos are beautiful and your stories informative and amusing!

    Thanks, Judi

    With the spilled drink!

    May 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

  4. The most common pollinator of trout lilies is the trout lily bee, Andrena erythronii. This is a solitary miner bee. It doesn’t have a hive. Also, instead of pollen baskets it has pollen brushes that serve the same purpose.

    March 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm

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