Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Night Blooming Plants and Their Insect Pollinators

  • Andrei Sourakov
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_2220

Some insects find warm shelter for the night inside flowers. In exchange, they pollinate the hospitable plants, just as certain bumblebees do with a furry composite flower of Sussurea found in the Himalayas. Sometimes, insect visitors looking for nectar are forced to stay overnight inside flowers in spite of their desire; the flower closes, trapping insects temporarily. The flower then showers them with pollen, as some milkweed plants do to mosquitoes.

Many flowers rely on nocturnal animals entirely for pollination, and thus cater their resources specifically to these animals. Fragrances of flowers that bloom at night are among the most pleasant. For instance, the night-blooming ylang-ylang tree in the Philippines produces an extract used in Chanel No. 5 perfume. By producing these scents, plants compete for specialized night pollinators, among which insects are the most common.

The carpenter bee Xylocopa tenuiscapais one of the few nocturnal species of bees. Its activity is...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrei Sourakov
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA