Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Changing partners

To ensure its flowers are pollinated, this rhododendron decided to hitch its fate to that of hummingbirds. Since birds appeared in the evolutionary process much later than insects, it is thought that the hummingbird simply took over from a pollinating insect to become this shrub's new companion (a second marriage for the rhododendron!).

While trees are usually classified as anemophilous, entomophilous or zoophilous, it's not actually as simple as all that. Pollen from various anemophilous trees can be found on the backs of bees; conversely, entomophilous trees do release some pollen into the air (no sense putting all one's eggs in the same basket, after all).

Photo of rhodora flowers (Rhododendron canadense)
Rhododendron canadense
© Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray)
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