Graham, L., Bugg, A., Fay, C., Island, J., Hallworth, M. et al.
As part of a recent series in Vice on sexuality, veteran honey bee Tom Pell is spilling the tea on plant sexual preferences.
“Getting pollen used to be so easy, but these flowers are getting freakier every year,” said Pell. “Half of them want to be choked now.”
He speculates that this flower sexual revolution is exhausting his pollen-collecting colleagues, and may be the main cause of colony collapse.
“Most perennials nowadays are into phloem play all of a sudden,” said Pell. The phloem, which is a plant’s food chute, is not involved in pollination. “Now I always bring phloem-plugs, just in case.”
Pell says that’s not even the strangest thing some flowers are into.
“There’s an entire field of lillies who can’t get off unless I pistil-whip them,” said Pell, “I’m drenched in pollen after that.”
Pell broke down the preferences of other flowering plants.
“Everyone thinks sunflowers are amazing just cuz they’re over 6 feet tall and have huge seeds. Honestly, they don’t do much with either.”
“The younger yellow ones are super into getting shamed for being a dirty little weed. Once you do that enough, they close up and turn white. At that point, they’re so close that even a light breeze will make their seeds fly off.”
“First of all, they make you call them “step-mums”, which is like, ok. But lately, they seem to get off on catching you in their step-son’s petals…”
“Every rose has its thorn and in this case it’s a big thorn called being sexually timid. I don’t even bother with roses most of the time.”
“As a group, they can’t get enough of voyeurism. I pollinate one while all the others around it watch.”
“These are not your prom night’s carnations! They’re all highly experienced now, so don’t fly anywhere near these flowers unless you know how to pollinate it reverse cow bee style.”