Today I Learned …

How long does it take for a flower to replenish its nectar supply?

It all depends on the creature the flower evolved to attract, says Gary Krupnick of the Museum of Natural History. Nectar is a sugar-based substance that lures pollinators so their bodies transfer bits of fertilizing pollen from flower to flower. Plants adjust their nectar production to match the needs of their pollinators. Small blue borage flowers, which attract bees and butterflies, can replenish their nectar in two minutes. Agave plants, which attract needle-nosed bats, produce nectar only at night. A recent study found that evening primrose is even able to detect the specific sound frequencies of its bee pollinators. When it does, it produces fresh nectar in three minutes to attract them.

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