Episode 74: Buzz Pollination and Soapwort


It’s tomato season! Did you know that the flowers of tomatoes are self-pollinating? Fused petals surround the anthers and keep most pollinators from accessing their pollen. However, it doesn’t stop bumblebees. Casey describes how bumblebees perform an act called buzz pollination, which shakes the pollen loose from a tomato flower and allows them to collect and transfer it.

tomato flower (Solanum lycopersicum) via wikimedia commons

Daniel introduces us to a European plant that has proven useful for making soap, earning it the name soapwort. Its usefulness prompted Europeans to bring it to America, where it has also been planted for its ornamental value. One problem – despite its usefulness, its aggressive and resilient nature makes it a troublesome weed.

soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)

See Also: Awkward Botany’s Soapwort Post


This episode aired on Radio Boise in August 2019 and featured music by Toy Zoo.

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