One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A coherent mass of pollen grains that is the product of each anther lobe of some flowers, especially orchids. Single or paired pollinia are often attached to, and carried by, pollinating insects.
- ‘Nectar is the most common reward amongst epidendroid orchids since their pollen occurs in discrete masses within pollinia and is generally inaccessible to foraging insects.’
- ‘The latter is an unidentified species of weevil that was observed feeding on nectar during two flowering seasons but carrying the four pollinia attached only once.’
- ‘Pollination occurs when insects carrying pollinia visit another flower and deposit pollen on the stigma.’
- ‘A single pollinium from a flower of a pollen donor was then inserted into the exposed stigmatic chamber, convex margin first, and the anther wings were gently pressed back together.’
- ‘The stigmatic flaps were gently splayed apart, and a single pollinium was inserted into the stigmatic chamber using the needle.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Latin pollen, pollin- ‘pollen’.
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