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Characteristics of Wind Pollinated Flowers

By John Brennan ; Updated July 21, 2017
A dandelion grows in a meadow.

Many plants are pollinated by bees, birds or other animals, but not all flowering plants rely on other organisms to carry pollen from one flower to another. Approximately 20 percent of flowering plants are wind-pollinated.

Features and Appearance

Wind-pollinated plants don't depend on the ability to attract birds or insects, so their flowers tend to be small, drab, unscented and inconspicuous. Anthers (structures where pollen is produced) and stigmata (structures where the pollen will land) often project from the flower in order to be exposed to the wind.

The Sneeze Factor

Pollen produced by a wind-pollinated plant is -- quite literally -- blown on the wind, so much of it will land in places where it will do no good. Consequently, wind-pollinated plants need to produce large amounts of pollen. For people with pollen allergies, the considerable quantities of pollen produced by some wind-pollinated plants can be a vexing problem.

Other Wind-Dependent Species

Trees and grasses in temperate regions are often wind-pollinated. Trees in this category typically flower in early spring before their leaves arrive to ensure the leaves do not block the breeze and prevent pollination.


About the Author


Based in San Diego, John Brennan has been writing about science and the environment since 2006. His articles have appeared in "Plenty," "San Diego Reader," "Santa Barbara Independent" and "East Bay Monthly." Brennan holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.