Well, let's take a close look at this orchid's pollination mechanism. Of course, the whole flower has a part to play in this masterfully designed system - one designed to help ensure cross-pollination.
- The large white lip serves as a landing pad for the bees.
- The long white spur is where the nectar collects to attract the long-tongued bees that visit the orchid.
- The little orchid's lavender hood protects the pollination mechanism.
- The vital pollen are clumped together in twin masses and are hidden under membranes near the top of the hood.
- Twin glue-dots are strategically placed to contact the unsuspecting bumblebee's head.
This first orchid photo shows the lip (or landing strip) extending to the right and the lavender hood or helmet partially covering the key components of the pollination mechanism.
As our "bee" retreats, the sticky viscidia have adhered to its "head" and as a result the pollinia are being removed from their protective membranes.
See some more photos of the Showy Orchis in my previous post.