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Fields like this one begin to turn into meadow spaces if left fallow and ungrazed for a while. On a walk through the countryside in spring and summer, keep your eyes peeled for the delicate cuckoo flower, the cloud-like blooms of meadowsweet and even the occasional orchid. Many flowering species have important, often co-dependent, relationships with insects known as pollinators. For example, a wild bee lands on a brightly coloured clover, eats their fill of nectar (a sugary source of energy) and pollen (full of nutrients like protein) and then moves onto the next flower. However, the bee has also picked up some loose pollen just by touching the flower, which it then delivers to the next flower and so on, allowing the clovers to reproduce with each other. Not all plants reproduce with insects, some release pollen onto the wind (which causes hay fever), some use water, and even wildfires, to help them reproduce, but this plant-pollinator relationship is particularly important to us because many of our crops need insect pollination, such as almonds, avocados and blueberries.
Fun fact: 100 crops provide 90% of the world’s food supply. 71 of which are pollinated by insects.
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