Do All Plants Have Male And Female Blooms?


Q: We’ve gathered lots of tomatoes and green beans even though I have not
seen many bees. I have planted coneflowers nearby to attract pollinators. Do
all plants have both male and female blooms like a pumpkin? 

A: All members of the squash family (pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers, etc)
produce male and female flowers along the vine and require pollinator visits.
Tomatoes and beans, however, have male and female parts inside each flower.
Pollen moves between the male and female parts with a just bit of vibration or
wind action. Visiting insects help take pollen from flower to flower but they
are not absolutely necessary for pollination/fruiting to occur on these “perfect
flower” plants. Carpenter bees, native bees, and bumblebees, not honeybees,
are the heavy hitters for tomato pollination. Normal tomato flowers hang
down from a stem. The pollinating bee will grab the center of the flower and
“buzz” it, shaking lots of pollen loose. The bee takes the pollen back to its
nest, the tomato gets pollinated and you have the main ingredient for a
summer sandwich!

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