Because every day we have to learn a little more about the world around us, in this AgroCorrn article we want to talk to you about the importance of flower nectar. This substance so useful for the balance of our ecosystem, has specific components designed by nature after a long time of evolution to attract pollinating animals. In fact, it’s so important that humans have started to make our own artificial nectar.
Would you like to know a little more about it, its importance and how it affects the planet? If so, we invite you to take a look at this article on what nectar is and its function , so that you gain more knowledge to care for and respect nature.
What is flower nectar
We define nectar as that substance in a liquid state that contains sugars and other nutritive compounds secreted by plants. Therefore, it is called nectary to that area of the plant where the nectar is secreted or located, either in the interior or base of the flowers or in areas far from the flowers. The latter are known as extrafloral nectaries.
But what does nectar contain? Nectar has sugars such as sucrose, glucose and fructose as the main ingredient, as well as water, since it is in a liquid state. In addition, these sugars are joined by other diverse phytochemicals whose function is to attract pollinators or repel predators . Specifically, it will be carbohydrates and amino acids that stimulate pollinators and alkaloids and polyphenols, also part of the nectar, who are responsible for protecting the plant from possible predators.
According to various investigations, nectar existed before the first flowers appeared. This was a consequence of an expulsion of accumulated sap due to accelerated growth of the plant thanks to favorable agents, such as the climate of the area where the specimen was found. Hence, even today, we find varieties of plants with leaves capable of secreting nectar when they reach maturity. These extrafloral nectaries often bring insects such as ants that are capable of eliminating more harmful pests and even discourage other insects from using the plant as a place to lay their eggs, as is the case with butterflies.
For this reason, it is believed that evolution has been the main responsible for the improvement and creation of floral nectaries and that these have evolved from these glands for the elimination of excess plant sap to attract the attraction of animals. pollinators .
What is the role of flower nectar?
As we have just explained, one of the main functions of nectar , perhaps the most important, is to attract pollinators , especially bees. These, like other insects and animals, are capable of taking nectar and turning it into their main food . But, in addition to that, without being fully aware, they not only secrete nectar, but also trap pollen on their legs and other limbs to carry it to the next flower and thus complete the complete pollination cycle of plants .
Hence, for many years now, there has been so much concern about the number of bees that exist today on our planet, as their populations have been greatly reduced. Bees fulfill one of the most important functions for the reproduction of plants , thus keeping the balance of our atmosphere and our habitat. Here we tell you why bees are in danger of extinction and which are the plants and flowers that attract bees , precisely thanks to their nectar.
Thus, we can say that flower nectar is one of the main agents not only of natural ecosystems, but in general of life on earth.
For the animals that feed on nectar from flowers they are known as nectarívoros or nectívoros . Within this group, although the majority are mainly insects and birds, we also find some types of reptiles and even bats.
Remember that, as we have already mentioned, it is very possible that nectar has arisen as part of the evolution of plants over the centuries to get more pollinating agents. In fact, nectarivorous animals are the most important pollinators for many plant species, rather than wind or other agents.
Being a little more specific, we can say that bees are the main pollinators since they not only feed on nectar, but also make their own thanks to a complex process. Other insects that also feed on nectar and that you are sure to know are the fly and the butterfly . Among birds, we cannot forget the hummingbird , a tiny bird whose beak has evolved to get as much nectar as possible. In this other post you can discover more about What are pollinating insects and their importance .
Now that you know better what flower nectar is and its function , we encourage you to discover more about bees, which as we have indicated are the main consuming insects of this nectar and, thanks to this, the main pollinating insects. By consuming this nectar, bees feed and produce honey. Here you can learn how bees make honey .
What is artificial nectar
Finally, we want to add that artificial nectar is called that which is manufactured to attract nectarivorous animals . This, as its name suggests, is not manufactured by the plant, but is a very similar mixture created by humans as a food supplement . However, it lacks protein and micronutrients.
Artificial nectar is widely used in beekeeping when honey reserves are low during the cold months or if during spring there is no favorable flowering for the development of the hive. For example, you can make your own artificial nectar by boiling a liter of water and adding 2 parts of refined sugar to the mixture.
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