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THE STUDY OF POLLEN
At the National Honey Show you see hundreds of jars of beautiful clear and crystallised honey. It is difficult to realise that every jar contains a million or more unseen pollen grains. Straining through the finest cloth will not remove them, nor would it be desirable, for they form a natural and beneficial part of the honey. To the ancients pollen was seen as fine flour and they named it accordingly. Like dust it floats invisibly in the air but collected in mass by bees it forms the coloured loads which they carry on their legs. For as colourless drops of water form the blue seas so the apparently colourless pollen grains form loads of many colours according to the plants from which they are gathered. Yet each minute grain is a complete package carrying the characters and the beauty of the parent plant and seeking the opportunity to pass these characters to succeeding generations. To achieve this the pollen must be transferred to the stigma of a flower of the same species. Thus pollination is effected; the pollen grain can now germinate to set the fruit and seed. The earliest flowering plants, the cycads, the maidenhair tree and the pines, relied on the wind to