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You’ve probably heard of selfies… but have you heard of selfing?

As the number of bees and pollinators continue to fall, flowers that depend on pollinators are finding other ways to reproduce. A study in France found that field pansies, who typically rely on bumblebees to bring pollen from other plants to reproduce, are evolving to “use their own pollen to fertilize themselves, a process the study called ‘selfing’”. The research showed the "selfing" pansies had smaller flowers by 10% and 20% less nectar. Researchers suspect this is because the flowers need to spend more time on growth and resisting diseases rather than attracting pollinators with big flowers and lots of nectar. Unfortunately, “the plants may be making a bad situation worse for pollinating insects. Many pollinators depend on nectar as food; if the plants make less, the insects will go hungry.”

To learn more about creating habitat for our pollinators and to reduce their decline, join the Pollinator Pathway HERE.

To read more, check out the Portland Press Herald and the New York Times.

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