Spiny pollen evolved to ‘velcro’ onto bumble bees

A wildflower’s spiny pollen has evolved to attach to traveling bumblebees, research finds.

Over 80% of the world’s flowering plants must reproduce in order to produce new flowers, according to the US Forest Service. This process involves the transfer of pollen between plants by wind, water, or insects called pollinators—including bumblebees.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri focused on the spiny pollen of a native wild dandelion species in the southern Rocky Mountains. Using a highly detailed electron scanning microscope, the research team could observe the microscopic surface of the spiny pollen, which otherwise looks like

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