Pollination is a process we regularly witness; the sight of a bee landing on a flower to feed on nectar is a familiar one. However, there is still much to learn about the interactions between flowers and insects, and here Jeff Ollerton addresses these gaps in our knowledge, as well as debunking a few well-known myths and misunderstandings about pollination.
The pollination of flowers by insects is one of the most familiar and readily observable ecological processes: there must be few naturalists, whatever their primary interests, who have never watched a bee or butterfly land on a flower and probe for nectar. This interest in flower visiting insects goes back several hundred years. Christian Konrad Sprengel, a German naturalist, is widely credited with publishing the first scientific account of insect pollination in his 1793 book Das entdeckte Geheimnis der Natur im Bau und in der Befruchtung der Blumen (The Secret of Nature Discovered in the Structure and Pollination of Flowers).