Hey, Bees!

Large carpenter bee sips from a passionflower, Phipps, 20 Sep 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

23 September 2023

Last Wednesday I watched an enormous carpenter bee sipping from passionflowers at Phipps Conservatory’s outdoor garden.

The passionflower’s nectar treat is directly below its overhanging anthers and stigmas. On Wednesday the anthers were in position to touch the hairy spot on the bee’s back. The stigmas were too high to touch the bee.

The pollination parts of a passionflower. An anther touches a bee, 20 Sep 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Later, the anthers and stigmas will trade positions. The anthers will pull back. The stigmas that collect pollen for the ovary will touch the bee.

This photo embedded from University of Florida, IFAS: The Passion Fruit in Florida shows how it works.

photo embedded from Univ of Florida IFAS Extension: Xylocopa virginica (eastern carpenter bee) with pollen on passion flower (P. incarnata). Credit: Mark Bailey, UF/IFAS

Passionflowers (Passiflora incarnata) have many lures to attract the large insects that pollinate them.

“Hey, bees! ” say the passionflowers, “Come here!”

Read more about passionflowers and their fruit at Univ. of Florida IFAS: The Passion Fruit in Florida

(photo credits in the captions)

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