Flowers attract bees and butterflies to them with a very often bright and vibrant color, and because of its beauty the bees and butterflies fly to and between them. But it’s not out of altruism that the flowers get pollinated. In return, pollinating insects get the reward of somewhere they can eat or drink and rest. Not only that but flowers are an ideal place for insects to find mates and even warmth in cooler climates. A bit like this cafe I’m sitting in right now.
Some flowers offer specific benefits to certain insects. For example, the male orchid bee or Euglossini Bees (pictured below), will prefer a flower with a sex pheromone-like fragrance which attracts potential bee mates. I don’t know about you but my local Starbucks doesn’t use pheromones but they have some nice smelling pastries in the morning. Similar kind of thing, kind of.
The most appealing thing that flowers can offer a potential pollen distributor is a very nutritious food called nectar. The high sugar, high energy rich fuel that these critters enjoy is stored deep into the bloom. Forcing the critter deep into the flower to completely cover themselves in pollen.
*Little Tip* the grains of pollen are also edible and a good source of protein. However let’s leave this to the bees, I don’t fancy pollen muffins.
As I said earlier about a flowers color, it is a very good method of advertisement for the flowers as many insects cannot see very well. Therefore the brightest and most vibrant flowers will be seen better, attracting more insects. In turn, flowers boast the most highly saturated and prolific colors in nature.
The scent of a flower is also a very powerful attractor for insects. The image below is of the Strapelia plant. This plant emits a smell of rotting flesh when it flowers. This in turn attracts a particular fly called the Carrion Fly or Calliphoridae. Most humans find this scent revolting. If you have ever been to a large garden center or somewhere or a large open garden like Kew Gardens or the Eden Project, they may well have one of these in the African section. You will smell it before you see it and it would make a great break-up flower arrangement.