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9 Examples of Wind Pollinated Flowers

When it comes to pollination, we frequently observe that insects play a vital part, and the truth is that many different kinds of flowers are dependent on them. However, there are other examples of wind pollinated flowers that don’t require the assistance of pollinators to increase their chances of reproduction since these flowers primarily depend on the wind.

In this article, we’ll look at a few flowers that rely on the wind for pollination rather than insects. We’ll also talk about how these flowers look different from others that rely on insect pollination. 

9 Examples of wind pollinated flowers

Characteristics of Wind-Pollinated Flowers

The appearance of wind-pollinated flowers differs significantly from that of insect-pollinated flowers. They aren’t required to have beautiful petals or even a pleasant aroma, both of which are typically utilized to draw in pollinating insects.

Given that they’re dependent solely on the wind, they need to have pollen grains that can be easily dispersed in the air. This means the pollen grains are lighter, the anthers are longer, and the plant produces a lot of pollen from its blooms. 

1. Papyrus

Papyrus plant
Papyrus plant | image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Cyperus papyrus

Papyrus is a flowering plant that grows in water and is native to the continent of Africa. It’s easy to recognize due to its clusters of reed-like swamp vegetation that are typically located in areas of shallow water. 

The plant is capable of growing to a height of 16 feet, producing clusters of flowers that have a coloration that’s somewhere between green and brown. These flower clusters are dependent on pollination by the wind and are found at the very tips of the stems. They normally bloom around the end of the summer season.

2. Common dandelion

Common dandelion flower
Common dandelion flower | image by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale

One of the most exquisite flowers that the wind pollinates is the common dandelion, which is a member of the daisy family. They like to thrive in regions with moist soils, but they can survive in crowded conditions, extreme temperatures, and with little or no moisture. 

Particularly, the leaves, flowers, and roots of the plant are used in herbal medicine, but in some areas, it seems to be an invasive weed species. You may recognize them by the yellow blossoms they produce, which later transform into round balls that are covered in numerous silvery hairs and are carried away by the wind. 

3. Black Alder

Black alder mature cones
Black alder mature cones | image by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Alnus glutinosa

The black alder, or common alder, is a tree that’s native to Europe, southwest Asia, and northern Africa. You might find them thriving in damp areas, where they offer shelter and nutrients to a variety of creatures, including fungi and insects. 

The growth rate of this tree has been estimated to be between one and two feet each year, and it has the potential to reach a height of 98 or even 121 feet over its lifetime. In the spring, the plant blooms with reddish flowers that are pollinated by the wind.

4. Nutgrass

Nutgrass
Nutgrass | image by Jeevan Jose via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Cyperus rotundus

Nutgrass, a species of grass that typically grows in crop fields or any other places with dry conditions, is an example of a flowering plant that’s pollinated by the wind that you may be familiar with. It has the potential to reach a height of up to 55 inches and has flower stalks that have a cross-section in the shape of a triangle. The bisexual flower has three stamens and three stigmas on the pistil, while the inflorescence has anywhere from three to eight uneven spikes.

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5. Red-seeded dandelion

Red-seeded dandelion
Red-seeded dandelion | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Taraxacum erythrospermum

The red-seeded dandelion and common dandelion are quite similar in appearance, however, the reddish-brown seed bases of the red-seeded version are what differentiate it from the common type. In addition to this, its leaves are always in the shape of a triangular lobed, compared to the leaves of the common dandelion, which don’t have a triangular form. Although both types produce yellow blooms, red-seeded dandelion flowers are often much smaller, measuring just about an inch across on average.

6. White star sedge

White star sedge
White star sedge | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Rhynchospora colorata

The white star sedge, which is also known as star rush, is another beautiful flowering plant that relies on the wind to pollinate its flowers. This specific plant produces blossoms that resemble daisies, and you might notice that the plant has very long, drooping bracts that are white in color and may look like its petals.

Although it may seem to attract a lot of insects, it’s actually pollinated by the wind. You can also find them growing near the coast, in dunes, and along roadsides and ditches. Since it can only grow up to 24 inches tall, it’s typically planted as a ground cover in moist landscapes where it can survive.

7. Japanese white dandelion

Japanese white dandelion
Japanese white dandelion | image by houroumono via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Taraxacum albidum

Another variety of dandelion, known as the Japanese white dandelion, can be seen growing in the southern regions of Japan. During the months of March through May, it’ll produce a single flower, however, compared to the typical yellow blossoms that are found on most dandelions, this particular variety will produce white ray florets.

It prefers to grow in sunny environments such as roadside ditches and cultivated fields, and just like other types of dandelion, the blossoms will eventually develop into a seedhead in the shape of a sphere. After that, they’ll be carried away by the wind, where they’ll remain dormant until autumn.

8. Water hyacinth

Water hyacinth flowers
Water hyacinth flowers | image by Eugene Zelenko via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Scientific name: Eichhornia crassipes

The flowers of water hyacinths are among those that can be pollinated by both insects and the wind. It is an aquatic plant that is native to South America, but in some parts of the world, it is regarded as an invasive species since it is one of the plants with the fastest rate of growth.

This plant is capable of producing thousands of seeds annually, and those seeds have the potential to maintain their viability for more than 28 years. Long-tongued bees are responsible for pollinating the blooms that they create, but these plants also take advantage of the wind to spread their pollen. 

9. Tulips

Tulip flowers
Tulip flowers | image by Ginny via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Tulipa gesneriana

Tulips are yet another vibrant flower that stands out from the majority of other flowers that are pollinated by the wind. The species is grown as an ornament and has huge, stunning blossoms that are capable of self-pollination.

Because of this, they depend on the wind and certain animals to transfer their pollen between their reproductive organs. Although they may have brilliant petals, they do not produce nectars as they don’t need to attract insects that are necessary for pollination.  

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About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.