Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua


Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from anther (male flower part) to stigma (female flower part). Without it, seeds and fruit will not be formed. Pollination can be achieved by wind or by using animals such as insects.

One in three mouthfuls of the food we eat are the result of animal pollination. Examples include fruits such as strawberries, apples and figs, seeds such as beans and sunflower kernels, and nuts such as walnuts and chestnuts. Even salad plants need pollination to produce the seeds from which they are grown!

Many exotic plants are grown as crops in New Zealand, including; kiwifruit, apples, grapes, stone fruit and some seed crops. The exotic honeybee Apis mellifera is used for much of the commercial pollination that occurs in New Zealand, but bumblebees Bombus spp., drone flies Eristalis tenax, native bees, flies and other insects also pollinate crops.


  • Kelly D, Ladley JJ, Robertson AW, Anderson SH, Wotton DM, Wiser SK 2010. Mutualisms with the wreckage of an avifauna: the status of bird pollination and fruit-dispersal in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34(1): 66-85.
  • Rader R, Howlett BG, Cunningham SA, Westcott DA, Newstrom-Lloyd LE, Walker MK, Teulon DAJ, Edwards W 2009. Alternative pollinator taxa are equally efficient but not as effective as the honeybee in a mass flowering crop. Journal of applied ecology 46(5): 1080-1087.
  • Robertson AW, Ladley JJ, Kelly D, McNutt KL, Peterson PG, Merrett MF, Karl BJ 2008. Assessing pollination and fruit dispersal in Fuchsia excorticata (Onagraceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 46(3): 299-314.
  • Merrett MF, Robertson AW, Peterson PG 2007. Pollination performance and vulnerability to pollination breakdown of sixteen native shrub species from New Zealand. New Zealand journal of botany 45(4): 579-591.
  • Newstrom L, Robertson A 2005. Progress in understanding pollination systems in New Zealand. New Zealand journal of botany 43(1): 1-59.
  • Armstrong TT, FitzJohn RG, Newstrom LE, Wilton AD, Lee WG 2005. Transgene escape: what potential for crop-wild hybridization? Molecular ecology 14(7): 2111-2132.
  • Kelly D, Hart DE, Allen RB 2001/1. Evaluating the wind pollination benefits of mast seeding. Ecology 82(1): 117-126.
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