Poisoning the Pollinators? Why Some Plants Have Toxic Nectar

A wasp feeding on a milkweed plant

Assistant Professor of Biology Patricia (Patty) Jones, who directs the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island, was recently tapped for her expertise on plant pollination.

In the latest edition of her monthly ecology podcast, the beepcast, Dr. Hannah Rowland of Cambridge University and the Zoological Society of London, asks, “Why do some plants have toxins in their nectar, given that nectar is normally a reward stimulus for flower visitors? Surely it doesn’t benefit a plant to deter the bees that pollinate it?”

Jones turned out to be the ideal person to address that question, having co-authored a paper on the very subject. She’s featured about five minutes into the podcast. Listen here.

 

 

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