Advantages & Disadvantages of Pollination

Written by laura pru | 13/05/2017
Advantages & Disadvantages of Pollination
Bees, birds and butterflies facilitate the pollination of flowers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Pollination is a natural process in the life cycle of plants where the pollen of a flower is carried to another for fertilisation. In all the different types of pollination, the basic outcome is the same -- the plant species thrives through this natural reproduction. Pollination also ensures diversity and variety of plant types, as many times horticulturists and agriculturists will deliberately pollinate different species of plants to create now hybrids, or this process may happen naturally, through pollinators such as birds, bees or insects.

Natural Adaptation

Pollination is the natural reproduction of plants, and through it we witness the intricate system of nature. Plant species are preserved in an environment that is constantly changing, and cross pollination, which is pollination between different varieties of plants, ensures that a newer, hybrid plant is produced to replace one that may be diminishing in number. Pollination is, therefore, a way of ensuring that the planet remains green and the plant population is able to adapt to changes in the environment.

Self-Pollinating Plants

Pollination is also nature's way of gifting us with fruit and nuts such as strawberries, tomatoes, peanuts and peppers, which can self-pollinate. This kind of pollination ensures the rapid propagation of a species, as outside assistance is not required. For horticulturists and agriculturists, this means being able to grow self-pollinating plants in greater numbers as they do not have to depend on the carriage of pollen from one plant to the other.

Cross-Pollination: Better Crops

Cross pollination manages the biological diversity of plants and crops on the planet. Many hybrid plants -- orchids, for instance -- are cross-pollinated to create rare and exotic species. It also promises better agricultural yield in commercial orchards because growers can tend to their crops in a more systematic way. Cross-pollination also safeguards and protects bees and butterflies, and in many cases of plant reproduction leads to better crops and stronger plants. This process of natural selection is beneficial for plant species that may otherwise die out.

Limited Survival

For self-pollinating plants, the dangers of dying out are less than for plants that require pollinators. In the case of cross-pollinating plants, there is a threat of the entire crop dying out if there are no pollinators to facilitate the process. The disadvantage of self-pollinating flowers and plants is that there is little genetic diversity because the same genes are passed down from the parent plant to the offspring. Any changes in the natural cycle threatens the survival of these plant species.

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