I’ve never grown a passion flower plant before but at the end of the season, a local gardening center had the passion flower “Incense” at a great price so I decided to give it a try.
The plant didn’t do much for the first month; it just sat there in the garden, working to get established.
But now it’s starting to grow and is becoming filled with flowers.
Yesterday I noticed something about the way a bee interacts with a passion flower. It’s clear that the bee wants to get to the nectar and the nectar appears to be found in the center of the flower. But in making its way to the center, something interesting happens.
The male reproductive organ of the flower – the stamen – has two parts: the filament and the anther. The filament is simply the stalk that supports the anther. The anther is what produces pollen.
Passion flowers have five anthers and each of them open facing down. That means that when the bee crawls into the center of the flower, its back gets coated with pollen from the anthers.
The female part of the flower is the pistil and the end of the pistil, the stigma, is where the pollen needs to land in order for the flower to be fertilized. The way the passion flower is set up makes it hard for the pollen to get to the stigma; that is, unless a bee is present.
After digging around in the center of the flower, the bee is coated in pollen. When the bee takes flight or lands on another passion flower, there’s a good chance that it might bump into one of the three stigmas of the flower with its pollen covered body. And when it does, fertilization takes place.
I’m liking the passion flower plant. The flowers are interesting and seeing the bees pollination them is even more interesting!