Colin Paterson-Jones - nature photography

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Flower Pollination

The plants of South Africa have evolved over millions of years. Over this time, different species have developed a variety of strategies to achieve the pollination of their flowers to produce seed for a new generation of plants.

Some species rely on the wind to move pollen from the flowers of one plant to another's, but most depend on the attention of an insect, a bird or an animal. In some cases, the link between the plant species and its pollinator has become so tight that each is dependent on the other for its continued survival.


The Table Mountain Beauty butterfly, Aeropetes tulbaghia, pollinating Brunsvigia marginata flowering in late summer in a recent burn in the mountains above the  Franschhoek Pass, Western Cape, South Africa. This butterfly is attacted to a guild of red-flowered plants


A Namaqua Rock Mouse, Aethomys namaquensis, pollinating Protea humiflora


A male Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa caffra, in a flower of cultivated Polygala virgata in late spring in the Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden, Cape Town, South Africa


A male Orange-breasted Sunbird, Anthobaphes violacea, probing for nectar, and pollinating, a flower of Erica mammosa in the Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden, Cape Town, South Africa


Protea Scarab Beetles, Trichostetha capensis, on the flowerhead of the pincushion, Leucospermum conocarpodendron ssp. viridum, Cape Peninsula, South Africa


A long-proboscid Tabanid fly, Philoliche rostrata, pollinating Erica irbyana in the Klein River Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa