Garden pea (Pisum sativum) in flower

Garden pea (Pisum sativum) in flower

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A garden pea plant, Pisum sativum, in flower. The picture shows a flower (white) and a developing pod (below, left). The picture was taken after a rain shower, and shows droplets of water adhering to the water-repellent waxy coating on the epidermis of the plant. Water has a high surface tension, encouraging the formation of spherical droplets, a low-energy shape that minimises surface area for a given volume of liquid.Pea flowers enclose the reproductive tissues within a flower that has only one plane of symmetry (zygomorphic ). Such a structure usually indicates that the flower is pollinated by insects. Although insects do visit the flowers of peas, they are not necessary to ensure a crop in commercial cultivars, which have long been selected to be self-pollinating. Peas therefore represent a crop whose performance is of little concern in the face of a fall in bee populations.

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Keywords: bee pollination, bee population, crop, food plant, garden pea, insect pollination, pea, pisum sativum, self-pollination, surface tension, zygomorphic flower

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