It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pollen in all colors

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the most common pigments in pollen grains.
(Image: The Pollen Loads of the Honeybees by Dorothy Hodges, 1952 - please click the image to enlarge)

We often think that pollen grains are only yellow in color; however they occur in all possible colors, even in deep blue. It is relatively easy to detect which flowers the bee has visited by closely investigating the pollen baskets, corpiculas. For an exact breakdown of the visiting pattern pollen analysis is needed, however many times the color of the basket can give us an indication of the visited flower – the colors are sometimes stunning -
In 1947 Mrs. Dorothy Hodges, a British artist and a beekeeper came to an idea of making a color chart of pollen loads (=baskets). She visited her friend Anna Maurizio, a world known melissopalynologist in Switzerland to learn about pollen grains and to get support for her idea. In 1952 with help of the International Bee Research Association she published the Pollen Loads of the Honey Bees.

This book is still the only one containing color charts for pollen grains, Mrs Hodges also illustrated the pollen grains for the most common bee plants in the UK. The printing consisted of only 200 signed copies making it to an absolute treasure for beekeepers, palynologists and collectors.
(more related illustrations in the facebook)

1 comment:

Laura Tyler said...

Ah, what a beautiful looking book! Thank you for sharing this with us, Mervi.