Milkweed, Orchids, pollination

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  • #13831


    Hi all

    While in Auckland I visited a fantastic exhibition at the Auckland Museum (at the back) on orchids, and was glad I did, a lot there to learn about flowers and pollination that I could apply to my knowledge of milkweed.

    Both families are some of the oldest plants in the world. Milkweed are special because of their use of pollinia, and orchids because of the manner(s) in which they new plants are created.

    If you have a chance to get to this exhibition, do so. Well worth it.

    Here’s a great website to learn more about flowers and reproduction in plants.

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  • #21919


    I had better hurry up and go to visit before it closes,



    I found the notes I took at that orchid exhibition. Has anyone been to see it yet? It closes at the end of October (or was it November?)

    There are over 22,500 species of orchids, and botanists estimate that there are another 6000 undiscovered species. NZ has the oldest, it’s over 21 million years old.

    Most of NZ’s orchids are small, with a few large ones, and most are pollinated by orchids. 41% of NZ’s orchids are under threat or uncommon.

    There was a great diagram showing the parts of flowers. Magnolia was a primitive flower, with sepal/petal, anthers (male parts) and pistils (female). A rose is moderately evolved, with the pistil being in three parts – stigma, style and ovary. (I seem to recall that from Biology in the Fifth Form, 45 years ago.) (EEEK!)

    Orchids are highly evolved, so that the male parts have an anther cap.

    50% of orchids self-pollinate. One flower can produce over a million seeds! Phew.

    Hope this is interesting… It was to me. I’m going back to take a better look!

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