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Slide 8 of 21
To start with the bottom line, this study revealed that flower phenology, that
is the pattern of number of open flowers over the season, is determined by the
rate of pollination, which is determined by the size of the pollinator
population. The more bees, the fewer flowers are open at a given time,
the faster pollination is completed, and the sooner pods are ready to harvest.
In alfalfa, the rate of pollination can alter the rate at which new buds open,
as well as the rate at which flowers wilt, thus changing the number of open
flowers. I refer to the number of open flowers as the “standing crop” of
open flowers, what is available to the bees at a given point in time. This is
terminology from community ecology.
To see the data and model that led to this conclusion, go on to the next
Skip the data and model and read more conclusions.
Go directly to "A test to determine if
you have enough bees in your field"
Alfalfa is an indeterminate bloomer, i.e., it continues to bloom as long as conditions are appropriate
and the fruits do not mature. Read about the implications of
indeterminate blooming in my essay Squash,
Beans, and Deadheading Flowers.