Capsicum (Bell Peppers)
Capsicums (Capsicum annuum) are generally self-pollinating, although cross-pollination is also common. The stigma (♀) is receptive before pollen is released from the anthers (♂). Pollen is released a few hours after the flower opens, but in some cases no pollen is released at all. The stigma can be either shorter or longer than the stamens (♂), and in some cases the stigma may touch the anther, causing self pollination. Capsicum flowers produce nectar at the base of the flower, with the quantity of nectar produced varying between varieties.
Poorly pollinated flowers result in stunted misshapen fruit. Flowers that do not release pollen must be cross-pollinated. Bees visit capsicum flowers, although they are easily distracted by more attractive blooming plants. Bumblebee visitation can increase the fruit weight, width, volume, seed weight and speed of ripening. Capsicums benefit from buzz pollination.
Potential Pollination Issues
Cold temperatures at night can negatively impact the pollination of capsicums by decreasing the fertility of the pollen.
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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