Bee bread or bee pollen is the main source of food for most honey bees and their larvae, consisting of honey and pollens which are gathered by the worker bees.
Pollen is a fine to coarse powder containing the micro gametophytes of seed plants, which produce the male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen grains have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement between the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants or from the male cone to the female cone of coniferous plants. When pollen lands on a compatible pistil of flowering plants, it germinates and produces a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule of a receptive ovary. The individual pollen grains are small enough to require magnification to see detail.
The transfer of pollen grains to the female reproductive structure or pistil is called pollination. This transfer can be mediated by the wind, in which case the plant is described as anemophilous (literally wind-loving). Anemophilous plants typically produce great quantities of very lightweight pollen grains, sometimes with air-sacs. Non-flowering seed plants (e.g. pine trees) are characteristically anemophilous. Anemophilous flowering plants generally have inconspicuous flowers. Entomophilous (literally insect-loving) plants produce pollen that is relatively heavy, sticky and protein-rich, for dispersal by insect pollinators attracted to their flowers. Many insects and some mites are specialized to feed on pollen, and are called palynivores.
Allergy to pollen is called hay fever. Generally pollens that cause allergies are those of anemophilous plants (pollen is dispersed by air currents.) Such plants produce large quantities of lightweight pollen (because wind dispersal is random and the likelihood of one pollen grain landing on another flower is small) which can be carried for great distances and are easily inhaled, bringing it into contact with the sensitive nasal passages.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 08:30|