Fascination of plants day; Con artists, traffic wardens and the secret lives of flowers

21 May 2017, 10.00 AM - 21 May 2017, 4.30 PM

University of Bristol Botanic Garden

This year we will be celebrating the fourth international Fascination of Plants Day with a fascinating exhibition from PhD student Tom Timberlake. Tom will demonstrate how plants manipulate their pollinators in many ways including scent, taste, appearance or even mind-altering chemicals to persuade them to visit before spreading pollen far and wide.

Tom said: “A priority for most plants is to ensure they receive pollen from distant plants, not just their own flowers. Foxglove flowers act as traffic wardens, ensuring bees only move from bottom to top. Flowers at the bottom of the plant produce more nectar than those at the top. This ensures that bees arrive to the bottom of the plant where the flowers are female. They deposit pollen brought from other plants before moving upwards towards the less nectar rich male flowers at the top. This one-way traffic prevents pollen moving between flowers on the same plant.”

The goal of Fascination of Plants Day is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture, in sustainably producing food, as well as for horticulture, forestry, and all of the non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environmental conservation will also be a key message.

This year’s Fascination of Plants Day will give visitors the opportunity to visit the Garden and meet with and chat to one of the University’s young researchers.  They will also be able to explore the Garden where they will see a wealth of truly fascinating plants.