Pollination allows plants to reproduce and fertilize, which results in the bearing of fruits. Flowers have male parts (stamen) that produce pollen and a female part called the pistil with a top part (stigma) that is often sticky. Seeds are made at the base of the pistil, and for the plant to be pollinated, pollen must be moved from the stamen to the stigma. Plants can self-pollinate when its pollen is transferred to its stigma. Cross-pollination occurs when pollen from one plant’s stamen is transferred to another (that is of the same species) plant’s stigma and this type of pollination produces stronger plants.
Pollinators can include people, animals (bees, flies, hummingbirds, butterflies, etc.) and the wind. When animals feed on the sweet nectar on the base of the petals, they accidentally rub against the stamens and get pollen stuck on their bodies. When they move to other flowers, the pollen rubs off onto the new plants’ stigmas. Plants that are pollinated by animals tend to be brightly colored and have a strong scent. Plants that are pollinated by the wind have long stamens and pistils. Because they do not need to attract animal pollinators, they tend not to be scented or brightly colored, and have either small or no petals for the animals to land on.