How Pollination Works, and Why It Matters
Much buzz is in the air about endangered insect pollinators, specifically monarch butterflies and honeybees. But just how much food is at stake is not as well publicized. To understand why pollinators are so critical, it helps to know the food growing cycle.
What pollinators do is, essentially, help the plant reproduce. As a result of reproduction, we get seeds and fruits, and a variety of vegetables.
Plants, like other living things, have male and female parts. Sometimes both exist in one plant and sometimes they are separate into individual plants. Male parts produce pollen, which must come into contact with the female anatomy called the stigma. Bees and butterflies deliver pollin when they seek the sweet nectar of the plant, and end up covering their bodies with enough pollin that, seeking a new plant, they transfer it between male and female.
The wind also pollinates plants, but without pollinating insects, the variety of fruit we eat would be significantly reduced. Tomatoes, blueberries, apples and squash are just a small sample of fruits brought to us by pollinating insects.