SUN ORCHID POLLINATION - FACT

Pollination of sun orchids is provided by small native bees.

The sun orchid has a flower shape similar to the nectar providing flowers that the bees frequent.

The labellum of most sun orchids remain unchanged due to the actions of its pollinator and/or the orchids ability to self-pollinate if needed.

The bees are not particularly interested in anything else but the column where the anticipated nectar should be found.  The bee will either chew on the pollinia housing or buzz the small hair tufts in an attempt to loosen the non-existent food. (see photo right)

Either or both of these actions will loosen the pollen sac (see photo sequence on following page), cause it to be ruptured and the powdery pollinia will stick to the bee's thorax, underside of its head or abdominal area.

A repetitive action on the next flower will dislodge the adhered pollen while picking up new.

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