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The beauty of pollen

The beauty of pollen

You brush past a yellow flower and end up with bright yellow pollen on your sleeve. The table beneath a vase of flowers is dusted with a fine layer of pollen. A bee, heavily laden with pollen, zooms from one flower to the next. Have you ever considered that there’s more to pollen than can be seen with the naked eye?

 

The most obvious function of pollen is to carry a plant’s genetic material for reproduction. But, it has many other uses that are not immediately evident. Pollen can be used to map the diversity of flowering plants in an area, or to investigate the effect of climate change on plant diversity over time. It can help to track the movement of insects. Pollen can be used to distinguish between similar species of plants. It can even help to solve crimes!

 

All of this is possible because the pollen of different species of plants has unique characteristics. Not only that, pollen is beautiful and worth observing under a microscope.

 

A fun science activity is collecting and observing the pollen from all the flowering plants in your garden. Take a look at what we’ve seen so far.

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