Nocturnal Liaisons: Eavesdropping On The Secret, Scented Lives Of Yuccas And Their Pollinators


Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 7:00pm to Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 6:45pm




Unitarian Church Annex, 2nd floor, entrance on Buffalo St.


Rob Raguso, Cornell Dept. of NBB


Remember Rob's talk on the pollination of "stinky red flowers"? Now he takes us further afield with a look at an iconic plant of deserts and eastern shores.

Most examples of animal-mediated pollination are incidental: the animal transfers pollen simply through the act of visiting a flower for its own foraging or reproductive needs. Yuccas, along with figs and a few other unusual plants, are actively pollinated by insects that directly benefit from such action, by raising their young on fertilized seeds of the same plant. This system, called nursery pollination, has revealed some interesting aspects of cooperative interactions in nature, such as how cheating can be reduced, and how specialized interactions can evolve and be maintained.