Wind Pollination (Anemophily)


Wind pollination (or anemophily) is a form of pollination whereby pollen is distributed by wind. Most gymnosperms such as conifers and cycads as well as angiosperms such as grasses and sedges are pollinated by wind. Common anemophilous trees and plants are pines, maples, oaks, wheat, rice, and corn. However, contrary to entomophilous and zoophilous species, wind-pollinating plants have no predisposition to attract pollinating organisms. Species using this pollination method thus feature flowers lacking a scent production (same with cones in conifers and cycads), showy floral parts, and a reduced production of nectar.

In order to multiply their chances of fertilizing plants and trees of the other sex, wind-pollinating species produce a significant amount of smooth, lightweight and non-sticky pollen grains. The microsporangia hang out of the flower, and, as the wind blows, the pollen is carried with it. The flowers usually emerge early in the spring before the leaves so that the leaves do not block the movement of the wind. The pollen is then deposited on the exposed feathery stigma of the flower to be fertilized.