Eggplant (Solanum melongena) flowers are self-fertile, and like tomato require vibration for pollen release. Flowers hang from the plant with the stamens forming a ring around the pistil. Wind can be sufficient to pollinate eggplants outdoors, but greenhouse grown plants require pollination by other means, such as bumblebees. Bumblebees perform buzz pollination, efficiently releasing the pollen from the anther. It may be possible to see the bruised bumblebee bite marks on the pollinated flowers of some varieties. Eggplant flowers do not produce much nectar.
Potential Pollination Issues
As with all flowering plants, the health and nutrition of the plant can affect pollen production and viability. Poor quality/quantities of pollen will have negative impacts on the bumblebee hive, and may lead to bumblebees searching for alternative pollen sources away from the crop, or to a reduction in the life of the hive. It is important to ensure that the plants are vigorous and healthy during flowering, and that their nutritional requirements are adequately met.
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