Examples of Insect-Pollinated Flowers

Flowering plants have adapted over time to ensure that their species survive, particularly if they are propagated via pollination. Angiosperms usually rely on insects to carry pollen from one flower to the next, which fertilizes the plant and subsequently helps it reproduce. Beetles and winged insects such as bees and butterflies help perform this task as they, in turn, use the plants as food sources and for shelter. According to the University of California, 65 percent of angiosperms are pollinated by insects.

Magnolia Trees

The flowers on magnolia trees, along with having a pleasing fragrance, have a whorl-like center arrangement that only attracts beetles. This pollination method is considered primitive; horticulturalists estimate that these trees were pollinated via the same flower adaptations and insects during the Mesozoic period, about 200 million years ago. Plant magnolia seedlings in full sun and in well-drained soil in early spring.

Peonies

Several insect species are known to swarm around peony flowers just before the buds open. According to the Heartland Peony Society of Paola, Kansas, ants are attracted to the nectar contained within and help pry open the flowers by crawling on them. Bees, wasps and other flying insects then pollinate the flowers once they bloom. Grow peonies in well-drained, rich soil and full sun. Support the plants with double flowers, which may become too heavy for the stems to hold and will droop to the ground.

Coneflowers

Coneflower, or echinacea, is populated by butterflies and other insects once the daisy-like flowers with dark seed centers bloom in midsummer and early fall. The flowers are often lavender, but other varieties come in colors ranging from white to yellow. These perennials are hardy from USDA zones 4 through 8. They grow in a variety of soil conditions and can withstand extreme temperatures. Grow coneflowers in full sun and areas that have well-drained soil. They are drought tolerant once they become established.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons are pollinated by several different insects, but primarily by bumble bees, which penetrate the flowers from the sides and are able to withstand the force of the flowers when they pop open. Once they are triggered, the honey bees and others consume the flowers' nectar and serve as pollinators. Grow these annuals in rich, well-drained soil in full sun; they can also tolerate some shade. Water snapdragons frequently as they begin to grow, then water them when the top 1 inch of the soil feels dry.

Keywords: insect pollinated flowers, flower pollination, flowers and insects

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and www.thecourier.com in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.