Tulip species pollination ecology

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 28 Dec 2014 11:14:51 PST
Travis asked,
>I am looking for evidence or direct observations of floral visitors 
>or pollinators of species Tulips in their native habitats. There is 
>little empirical evidence of the pollination ecology of wild tulip 
>species. All I could find was a journal paper on beetle pollination 
>mentioning a few species of tulips as fitting the beetle pollination syndrome.

Kurt Vickery, an expert on wild tulips, noticed this question and 
wrote me, sending a photo of beetles pollinating wild tulips. He says 
he has not noticed many insects visiting the wild plants. I haven't 
noticed any on garden species tulips, but they certainly set seed in 
this area (Portland, Oregon).

Travis also mentioned having trouble growing tulips in his southern 
Oregon garden because of burrowing predators. This was a big problem 
for me when I lived in a vole-ridden country place, but now that I 
live in a suburb there are no voles or field mice apparently present, 
and I see well-established colonies of commercial tulips in the 
neighborhood. I don't buy tulip bulbs for fear of introducing 
viruses, but I'm growing many from seed and hope to have some raised 
beds built for them this summer. I'll lay heavy-duty woven 
groundcloth under the beds to prevent moles (which are a problem 
here) from coming into them; the local mole species eats some plant 
material, though mostly worms and insects. You can also protect your 
tulips by planting them in strongly made plastic mesh pots, 
obtainable from water-garden suppliers.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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