Pollenizer

From Academic Kids

The words pollenizer (polleniser) and pollinator are often confused. A pollenizer is the plant that provides pollen. A pollenizer is always a plant. A pollinator is the agent that moves the pollen, whether it be wind, bees, moths, bats, or birds, etc.

The verb form to pollenize, is to be the source of pollen, or to be the sire of the next plant generation.

While some plants are capable of self pollenization, the term is more often used in pollination management as a plant that provides abundant, compatible, and viable pollen at the same flowering time as the pollenized plant. For example most crabapple varieties are good pollenizers for any apple variety that blooms at the same time, and are often used in apple orchards for the purpose. Some apple cultivars produce very little pollen; some produce pollen that is sterile, or incompatible with other apple varieties. These are poor pollenizers.

A pollenizer can also be the male plant in dioecious species (where entire plants are of a single sex), such as with kiwi fruit or holly.

Plants are sometimes mistakenly called pollinators. For example, some nursery catalogs may say variety X should be planted as a pollinator for variety Y, when they actually should be referring to it as a pollenizer. Strictly, a plant can only be a pollinator when it is self fertile and it physically pollinates itself without the aid of an external pollinator, as in the case of apomictic species like some rowans and hawthorns.

Note: pollenizer is the most common spelling in US English, with polleniser in UK English and Australian English; occasionally one sees the alternative spellings pollinizer or polliniser.

See also: Pollination

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