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Re: HYB: bee pods

The structure of the iris bloom does not easily allow for bee pollination. 
The stigma and stigmatic lip in most bearded irises is located well away from 
the anthers. Bees being somewhat famous for efficiency have no reason to 
visit the stigma. Additionally the lip itself stays closed or nearly closed 
during most of the blooms fertile period serving more as a barrier to 
pollination than as a facilitator. Bumble Bees being taller or having greater 
wing turbulence may be more capable of pollinating blooms. I suspect, but do 
not know for a certainty, that insect pollination when it does occur is done 
more often by insects other than bees. I have observed insects eating pollen 
and higher concentrations of smaller insects in the immediate vicinity of the 
stigmatic lip of irises under attack by rot. I further suspect that wind is 
far more responsible for inadvertant/random pollination when it does occure. 
This conjecture is based purely on the structure of the bloom. Following the 
bloom season, counting irises here and those in friends gardens, I view about 
1200 different TBI's. Of these, last year, I saw two cultivars that had set 
accidental seed pods. Of these two cultivars one had pods that contained no 
seeds. The year before I saw none. In my part of the world inadvertant 
pollination of TBI's is a non issue.

Weighin' in without scales or balance,
Bill Burleson 7a/b
Old South Iris Society

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