Pollinators play an important role in the success of our native plants around the world. It has been estimated that on average 85% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination. Pollinators contribute their services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops.The list of native pollinators is long and diverse, including butterflies, bees, moths, flies, wasps, ants, bats, hummingbirds, and beetles. 

Some of the most conspicuous pollinators in this area include hummingbirds who “accidentally” transfer pollen from plant to plant while on the hunt for nectar. Hummingbirds are attracted to brightly colored flowers including pink, orange, yellow, and particularly red displays. Hummingbirds rub against a flowers anthers, which holds the pollen, while they drink nectar secreted from glands deep in the flower. The pollen then sticks to the hummingbird and is carried to the next flower it visits. 
Native bumblebees, master pollinators, have the ability to release and retrieve pollen from the most conservative plants like rhododendrons. Bumblebees use a technique called buzz pollination to retrieve pollen. Bumblebees vibrate their flight muscles to produce a high-pitched buzzing sound. These vibrations cause the pollen to explosively release out of the pore in the anther. The bumblebee can then harvest the pollen which is a nutritious source full of proteins. 

Pollination is mutually beneficial for both the plant and the animal involved. Not only does the animal walk away with a tasty treat like nectar or pollen, but pollination results in the production of seeds that is necessary for the plant to reproduce. Without pollination, flowering plants would not be able to generate new plants for the following season and would in turn die off. In order to maintain the diversity of our natural ecosystems, we need healthy pollinator populations to ensure that the next generation of plants will be produced. You can help support healthy communities by planting native Pacific Northwest plants in your garden that attract pollinators and provides food for them.