Thieving honeybees offer a glimpse of flowers’ evolutionary origins

2 months ago 14
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By Richard Sima

An Asian honeybee visits Gnetum luofense

An Asian honeybee visits Gnetum luofuense

Professor Yan-bing Gong

Honeybees are championed as valuable pollinators, but sometimes they steal pollen without helping the plant that makes it. Now, a study of pollen theft by honeybees from a type of non-flowering plant is shedding light on why the very first flowers may have evolved.

Honeybees’ reputation for diligent pollination is mostly well‑deserved, but they aren’t universally good for all plants. Tao Wan at the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden in Shenzhen, China, and his colleagues have discovered that, in the tropical rainforests on …

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