Sunday, October 14, 2007
I just finished a chirimoya fruit and started to dig Wikipedia for some details about this world wonder. The most interesting part for me as a biologist is the pollination mystery. "The flowers are hermaphroditic, but have a mechanism to avoid self pollination. The short-lived flowers open as female, then progress to a later, male stage in a matter of hours. This requires a separate pollinator that not only can collect the pollen from flowers in the male stage, but also deposit it in flowers in the female stage. It is acknowledged that there must be such a natural pollinator, and while so far studies of insects in the cherimoya's native region have been inconclusive, some form of beetle is suspected. For fruit production outside the cherimoya's native region, cultivators must either rely upon the wind to spread pollen in dense orchards or else pollinate flowers by hand. Complicating matters is the notoriously short lifespan of cherimoya pollen." Isn't it amazing?