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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Saturday - November 30, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Do bees visit cedar trees and other conifers for pollen?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I was wondering if honey bees or native bees visit cedar trees for pollen? and what about other conifers?

ANSWER:

According to this Encyclopedia Britannica article, in the gymnosperms (conifers, ginkgos, cycads and gnetophytes) only the conifers and ginkgos are exclusively wind-pollinated; whereas, the cycads and gnetophytes, as well as being wind-pollinated, have some species that are insect pollinated.  Some cycads are pollinated by beetles and may have a symbiotic relationship with them.  Some of the gnetophytes (Ephedra, Gnedum and Welwitschia) produce a nectar that attracts insects and are pollinated by insects.  Other gnetophytes are pollinated by the wind.  You can read an article about the gymnosperms from Tulane University and from the University of Wisconsin.

So, the answer to your question is that, as far as we know, bees (native or otherwise) do not make use of the pollen of cedar trees or any other conifer.

 

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