The Deceptive Pollination Practice in Plants and Flowers: Nutritive Mimicry

The Deceptive Pollination Practice in Plants and Flowers: Nutritive Mimicry

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Despite the popular belief that all flowers have an equal opportunity when it comes to attracting pollinators the competition over the basic needs of angiosperms causes the practice of deceptive pollination to be very common. Pollination is in most cases a mutualistic relationship that requires some form of benefit to both the pollinator and the flowering plant. The pollinator is attracted to a flower that looks like they can offer food or shelter. However if the flower lacks the benefit of a reward there is a low chance that the pollinator would find the flower desirable enough to pollinate. It is estimated that a large portion of angiosperms are non-rewarding, as a result most rely on the use of other pollination strategies, such as deception to attract pollinators. In deceptive pollination when a flower advertises a reward that they do not actually posses it is known as mimicry. There are two types of mimicry when it comes to deceptive pollination. The awards that the flower mimics are either nutritive or reproductive.
Nutritive mimicry is when a non-rewarding flower mimics the appearance of a rewarding flower that provides food for the pollinator. Over a period of time the flowers that rely on nutritive mimicry have adapted to mirror the appearance of rewarding flowers. However the mimic is not an exact depiction of the model flower in which they aspire to mirror. This is why it is beneficial for the deceptive flowers to bloom slightly before their model species, as it has been theorized that it does not require a strong resemblance in appearance. In order to increase the chances of pollination the species of mimics have slightly different mimics to the same model flower. These multiples of species of mimics make it difficu...


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...h fertilization through deceptive pollination strategies. Actively evolving group with highly specialized adaptations for attracting, deceiving, and manipulating insects (Dressler 1).


Works Cited

Pat Willmer, Pollination and Floral Ecology (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2011), 524.
Ibid. , 525.
Pat Willmer, Pollination and Floral Ecology (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2011), 536.Dressler, L. Robert. The Orchids: Natural History and Classification. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1981.

Lack, Andrew, Proctor, Michael, Yeo, Peter. The Natural History of Pollination. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1996.


Willmer, Pat. Pollination and Floral Ecology. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2011.


Sporne, K.R. The Morphology of Angiosperms. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1975.

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