Maize flower close up. image credit

Maize flower close up. image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes: Reproduction in plants: The differences between wind and insect pollinated flowers

  • Not all flowers are  exactly the same
  • Some flowers have adapted to be pollinated by wind
  • Others have adapted in a way that allow them to be pollinated by insects
  • Examples of wind pollinated flowers include maize and most types of grass plants
  • Examples of insect pollinated flowers include bean plants
The structure of wind and insect pollinated flowers compared. Image credit

The structure of wind and insect pollinated flowers compared. Image credit

Insect pollinated flowersWind pollinated flowers
They are usually largerThey are usually smaller in size or elongated, weeping/bent
They have large coloured/scented petalsThey have reduced sepals and petals
They produce sweet nectarThey have no nectar
They produce pollen grains that are spiky/stickyThey produce abundant, small/light pollen
They have anthers inside their themTheir anthers are exposed to the wind
Their stigmas are small and less exposedTheir stigma is exposed and bushy/hairy


  • These are the insects and animals that pollinate insect pollinated flowers
  • The list includes animals such as:
  • bees-including the entire species  of bees such as bumblebees, honey bees etc
  • butterflies and moths
  • rodents such as shrews and mice
  • bats
  • monkeys
  • birds such as sun-birds, hummingbird, honey eaters which have long beaks that allow them to reach into flowers and suck the nectar out of them
  • reptiles and a lot of other animals

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page.

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