Window flowers-- evolution is non-purposeful

Adam Fikso
Fri, 05 Nov 2010 18:21:01 PDT
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Josh Young" <>

 Would you assume that a flower may evolve to be pollinated by other than that 
typical for the plant?

Josh, I'm not sure if you know this but evolution is not purposeful.  Flowers do not evolve in order to be pollinated by anythng in particular.  Theoretically, a plant could evolve to have its flowers pollinated by anything in the environment which has been around long enough to exert an evolutionary directionality.

Your sentence above suggests that you might think of evolution as purposeful--i.e.,   as if evolve to be =in order to .  However, I may have incorrectly inferred this from the ambiguity of meaning in yor choice of words.

If I imputed more to you than you intended--Sorry.  It's an important point. 


From: Nhu Nguyen <>
To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
Sent: Fri, November 5, 2010 5:17:01 PM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Window flowers

Hi David,

Modification of flowers (or lack thereof) almost always has to to with
pollinators. Plants that don't need animal pollinators have much reduced
petals. Plants that have bats pollinated flowers are often white, bloom at
night, and may include a perch. Plants that are pollinated by birds are
often colorful (red), blooms during the day and may include a perch
(hummingbird pollinated flowers don't have perches). And perhaps by far the
most elaborate flowers has to do with insect pollinators. Orchid is one of
the groups that takes full advantage of this going from giving a sweet
nectar reward to tricking insects to mate with them. Botanists call all of
this pollination syndrome. The clearing in the petals must have something to
do with these insect pollinators.

Berkeley, CA


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