Plants pollinated by bats

Monday, 12 October, 2015
Last week we told you about the pollination of some plants, which was carried out by insects such as beetles. But pollination can be performed by other animals such as bats.
Would you have guessed?
Pollination by bats is very original. It's rare compared with pollination by insects or birds, but still biologists have found more than 500 species of flowering plants, mostly in the tropic areas, which are visited at night by small bats seeking nectar.
There are several types of specialized flowers that need to be pollinated by bats. In the most common, open at dusk, are flared, with colorful little colorful (white, cream or green) and a smell sometimes unpleasant. They are often situated on branches or trunks where they are easy to reach, and produce much nectar.
An example is the pumpkins tree (Crescentia cujete), Central and South America. It belongs to the family of begonias. The flowers appear on the same trunk or branches. In the Canary Islands it's occasionally grown in botanical gardens. As there are in our islands bats that pollinate, like in Uncarina we can do a manual pollination and so induce the fruits develop, round as pumpkins but inedible. Its shell is very hard, so in America are used as containers.
Gender Espostoa is a South American cactus, its flowers appear in a brush-shaped structures that are found at the tips of shoots. They open at night (though some remain open usually the next morning) and are pollinated by bats. It's believed that these small mammals, which are guided by sounds, they can better recognize flowers precisely because they are in the midst of this kind of brush hairs.
Follow us this week because we're going to continue telling you some curious forms having to pollinate plants!