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What Will Plants Do If There Are No Bees Left

What is going to happen to the flowering plants that rely on bees for pollenation when all the bees are gone?

One of the noted facts and also to some extent mysteries of recent years has been what has happened to many bee populations which are seen to be dwindling and without dedicated beekeepers may even soon disappear entirely.

What has caused that drop in their numbers is a bit of a mystery as even with the changes that we see in the world around us and many due to human activity it would not alone seem to explain what has caused the falling numbers.

However, there is some good potential news for plants.

Research has shown the idea of something called super evolution, whereby plants can quickly adapt and change themselves when there are no pollinators around and therefore can keep themselves going.

In an interesting research experiment, flowers were grown without their natural pollinators around, and within just a few generations - five - there was a difference in the plants!

They grew in an adapted way such that the organs in the flower were closer to each other through simply having smaller flowers, which of course means that they will pollinate themselves much more easily and therefore can help to get around the problem of there not being pollinators around.

Date published: 23 Jul 2010

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