Wind Pollination

Biol 324 Introduction To Seed Plant Taxonomy

Wind pollination syndrome: anemophily

- Flowers apetalous, not colored, odorless, nectarless,
- Flowers small in size,
- Sepals often absent, stamens and stigmas exserted, stigmas large and feathery,
- Ovules few or one per flower – constant feature of wind pollinated plants
- Pollen abundant, intermediate to small in size and not sticky
- Flowering often precocious - before leaves appear in spring in deciduous trees
- Often monoecious or dioecious, separation of male and female flowers goes along with wind pollination

(1 Wind vs insect pollination in Sanguisorba (Rosaceae)
Sanguisorba muricata – wind pollinated, dangling stamens, flowers not showy, female stage has large stigmas ready to receive pollen, flower protandrous (stamens mature before female components are mature)
Sanguisorba menziesii – insect, many small flowers in showy inflorescence
(2) Forest trees: e.g. Quercus (oak)
(3) Grasses: e.g. Oryza (rice)

Ecology of wind pollination
- Wind pollinated plants are often dominant species in their ecosystems, for example:
conifers, oaks, poplars, grasses. Wind can carry unlimited amounts of pollen but does not deposit it efficiently, so it is most effective in dense single species stands.
- Because wind is less frequent in the understorey of forests, few wind pollinated plants are found there or in other sheltered habitats.
- Because wind pollination is inefficient, pollen/ovule ratios are skewed towards pollen, and ovules are one per flower

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