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How do wind and water act like pollinators?
During pollination, abiotic factors like wind and water act as pollinators for a few plants by helping them in the transfer of pollen from one flower to another.
These plants, depending on abiotic factors for pollination, spend their energy on pollen rather than attracting pollinators (like biotic factors such as butterflies) with nectar and attractive and fragrant flowers.
Wind pollination (also termed anemophily) occurs in conifers, grasses, cereal crops, many trees, and dandelions.
Characteristics of wind-pollinated flowers are:
- Does not produce attractive color, odor, or nectar
- Small, without petals
- Stamens and stigmas are exposed to air currents
- Produces pollen in larger quantities
- Pollens are smooth and light in weight, that can be easily carried by the wind
- Stigma is feathery to catch pollen from wind
During hydrophily (water pollination), pollen grains are distributed either through surface pollination or submerged pollination.
Plants that undergo water pollination possess small and inconspicuous male flowers, releasing a large number of pollen grains those floats in water to stick to feathery stigmas of female flowers.
The most common examples of water-pollinated plants are hydrilla, Vallisneria, pondweed, coontail, etc.
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