The insect-pollinated and wind pollinated flowers highly vary in their structural appearance.
The flowers are large-sized for insect pollination with vibrant bright colour petals. These flowers possess many nectar glands that continuously release the nectar. For this reason, they have a very sweet and fragrant smell. These all factors make the flower attractive for the insect to come and sit over the flower.
On the other hand, there is no need to lure anybody for wind pollination. Thus, the flowers are tiny, inconspicuous with unattractive dull dark coloured petals. They lack nectar glands and thus are devoid of the sweet smell of nectar.
The quantity of pollens produced by both the flowers also varies. Entomophilous or insect-pollinated flowers have much probability of reaching another flower for fertilization. Thus, these plants produce a lesser amount of pollens comparatively.
In contrast, the pollens are less likely to reach the right spot as the Wind drifts them to somewhere else. Thus, in order to increase the chances of fertilization wind-pollinated flowers generate a huge amount of pollens for hit and try the method.
Here, we will discuss the major differences between these two types of flowers with the help of a comparison chart, characteristics and examples.
Content: Dopamine Vs Endorphins
- Comparison Chart
- What is Pollination? And why is it necessary?
- What do you mean by Insect Pollinated Flower?
- What do you mean by Wind Pollinated Flower?
- Key Differences
|Basis of Characteristics||Insect Pollinated Flowers||Wind Pollinated Flowers|
|Appearance of Petals||Large attractive petals with vibrant bright colours to appeal the insect||Small unattractive petals with dull colours|
|Size of Flower||Large sized flowers||Small sized flowers|
|Structure of Flower||Complex flower||Simple flower|
|Presence of Nectar||Contains nectar producing glands that actively secretes nectar to lure the insect||No nectar glands are present|
|Amount of Pollens||Lesser amount of pollens are produced since the chance of wastage is low||Huge quantity of pollens are generated by the flower as most of them distract their path and doesn't reach to another flower|
|Characteristics of Pollens||Big, coarse, sticky and spiky kinds of pollens that can easily stick to the body of insect while sucking the nectar||Lightweight, tiny, dry and smooth pollens which are not in clump and can be blown by Wind|
|Position of Stigma||Located inside the flower so that the pollens attached to the insect body brushes to it||Present hanging outside the flower so as to catch the drifting pollens|
|Characteristics of Stigma||Sticky and lobed to adhere the pollen||Sticky, feathery or net like to grab the pollens from surrounding air|
|Position of Anther||Inside the flower to brush the pollens nicely on insect's surface||Outside the flower so as to disperse the pollens directly into the wind|
|Characteristics of Anther||They are firm and stiff||They are loosely bound|
|Appearance of Style||Short and even||Long and hairy|
|Appearance of Stamen||Short stamen that remains hidden within the petals||Long stamen that usually hangs out of the petals|
|Examples||Rose, hibiscus, orchids and durian||Maize, rice, grass and paddy|
What is Pollination? And why is it necessary?
Pollination is the process of transfer of pollen grain from stamen to the stigma of the same or different flower. There are some agents that facilitate the process of pollination, they are pollinators.
Almost all the plants rely on pollination for the transfer of the male gamete to the female stigma which can further lead to their fertilization.
For pollination to occur rightly, factors like the floral and inflorescence architecture are greatly important. Similarly, the plant height, floral position, location of the reproductive organs etc. are some prominent characteristics that influence pollen dispersal and capture.
What do you mean by Insect Pollinated Flower?
Insects can be the most irritating creature on the planet if they want to be! They can create a nuisance of all kinds that persuade you to kill them so that you can enjoy your buzz-free life.
But no organism on the earth is worthless; it will have its duty assigned by mother nature. Similarly, the insects are allotted the major work of Pollination.
Almost 75% of the plant species present on the globe rely entirely upon the insect for their gametes to pollinate. This makes them utterly crucial as we all depend on plants for our survival.
The insect-pollinated flowers are simply those flowers where the insects are responsible for carrying the male pollen from another to the stigma of the same or different flowers.
How does the process of insect pollination occur?
The insect needs to come close to the pollens so that they can get stuck on its body surface. And when it moves from one flower to the next in search of more nectar, it will carry the pollens along.
Plants tend to attract insects through their beautiful flowers. The bright colours and the sweet fragrance of the nectar appeal to them towards it.
As soon as it reaches another flower, the pollen brush over the stigma. And if the flower is of the same kind, the further process of fertilization takes place.
Structural Characteristics of Insect pollinated flower
- These flowers are large in size.
- Have beautiful big sized petals with attractive bright colours.
- They have several nectar glands that constantly secrete the nectar. Due to this, the flowers smell so sweet.
- A matured flower is open so that the reproductive part of the flower, including the pistil and stamen, remains exposed.
- Pollen transport by insects is a very reliable mechanism that ensures pollination at the proper location. As a result, the chance of pollen waste is virtually eliminated.
For this reason, these flowers yield fewer pollen grains.
- The pollens of these flowers are sticky, spiky, large-sized, and coarse to adhere to the insects’ body surface.
- The anthers are stiff and firmly attached to the filament.
- They are present on the inner side of the flower so that when the insect comes to the flowers, the anthers could brush the stored pollen on its body.
- It is sticky and lobed to trap the pollen brought by the insect.
- Present inside the flowers to brush against the insect.
- It is short and remains hidden in petals.
- Short style with even stigma.
Examples of Insect Pollinated Flower
What do you mean by Wind Pollinated Flower?
Most of the biological research focuses largely on insect-pollinated flowers. But we can’t ignore the fact that the Wind facilitates pollination in those areas where the pollinators are scarce. It is the type of pollination where the plants use Wind as the pollinating agent that carries the pollens to the desired location.
Around 10 % of the plant species depend upon the wind for the transfer of the pollen grains from one flower to another.
As the Wind is present always and everywhere, thus there is no need for the plant to do any specific structural modification to lure the pollinator.
Even though this method of wind pollination seems simple and fascinating but is quietly uncertain. The probability that the pollen will land at the right spot is low. You can understand it as a “hit and try method”. The direction of the wind might take the pollens away from the destination. For this reason, they are substantially less efficient.
How does the pollination by Wind occurs?
The anther of these flowers hangs on the outer sides. As soon as the wind blows and hits the anther, releasing several lightweight tiny pollens into the wind. They move along in the direction of the wind and reach the stigma of another flower of the same kind.
Structural Characteristics of Wind pollinated Flowers
- Wind pollination doesn’t require attracting pollinators of any kind. Thus, here the flowers are not attractive.
They are dull and light-coloured small flowers.
- The nectar glands are absent, due to which they lack the sweet smell.
- To maximize the probability of catching the drifting pollen, floriation is at the outermost edges of the stem.
- The flowers are widely open for the maximum exposure of the anther and stigma to Wind.
- The plants performing the wind pollination perform synchronous mass flowering to ensure successful pollination.
- These flowers produce a massive quantity of pollens. Pollination by wind causes considerable wastage of pollens. Thus, there is abundant pollen production to assure the pollination.
- The pollens of these flowers appear tiny, lightweight, smooth and dry so that the Wind can blow them easily.
- They are sticky, feathery and sometimes net-like to catch the drifting pollen.
- They project outside the flower to quickly come in contact with wandering pollens.
- It is long and hairy.
- Long stamen that hangs out of the petals.
- They are loosely attached to the filament.
- Remain hanging outwards so as to release the pollens directly into the Wind.
Examples of Wind pollinated flowers
- Bread wheat
Key Differences Between Insect Pollinated and Wind Pollinated Flowers
- The flowers pollinated by insects are brightly coloured with an attractive and vibrant look. While those getting pollinated via Wind are dull in colour and are not appealing at all.
- The insect-pollinated flowers bear the nectar glands because of which they have a sweet scent. In contrast, the Wind pollinated flowers are devoid of nectar and thus have no pleasant smell.
- The flowers produce a comparatively lesser amount of pollens for insect pollination. But those flowers getting pollinated by wind generate an abundant amount of pollens.
- The pollens of insect-pollinated flowers are big, sticky, and spiky, with a coarse texture to stick to the body of the insect. In contrast, the pollens of wind-pollinated flowers are small, dry, and feathery, with a smooth structure to easily flow in the wind.
- In an insect-pollinated flower, the anther and stigma lie in the flower’s interior part. Comparatively, both of them project outside the flower petals in a wind-pollinated flower.
Pollination is a very important topic in botany which tells us how the biotic and abiotic factors rely on each other. Both the insect and wind-pollinated flowers have their own significant characteristics which are briefly described in the above context.