Not the right pollinator for Cynoches?
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  #1  
Old 11-14-2018, 08:11 PM
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Connie Star Connie Star is offline
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Default Not the right pollinator for Cynoches?

I have a Cynoches here in Costa Rica that I bought recently in bud and it has bloomed exuberantly, with presumably male flowers. It is supposed to be pollinated by euglossine bees, but my husband photographed these 2 bees hovering over it that were very large (inch or so) landing on it. They are clearly not euglossine bees as they are too big. They also didn't appear to be going for the pollinia. Does anybody know more about this? I've never seen it in the US and I imagine it's not grown by a lot of people.
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2018, 12:24 AM
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I'm taking a wild guess on this, but if the Cycnoches you got was originally pollinated by a species of Euglossine bee, and this bee is not a species of Euglossine bee, it is entirely possible that the bee visiting your orchid's flower may not be the original pollinator if the orchid had been in its natural range but rather it is a possible surrogate pollinator.

This species of bee may be attracted to similar chemicals that the orchid is producing as a scent that the original pollinator species of Euglossine bee is attracted to.

Whether this bee can pollinate the orchid or not remains to be seen.

Surrogate pollinators do exist. For example, the species of bee that pollinates Dendrobium kingianum in its natural habitat before European settlers arrived in Australia and brought along the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera), may not be the same species of bee that pollinates the orchid in the United States, but they may both be attracted to the same scent - a honey-like scent. Both species of bee are even of similar size to each other, and therefore, both species have the ability to pollinate Dendrobium kingianum. While I personally do not know which species of bee originally pollinated Dendrobium kingianum in the wild, that bee must've been similar in habit and size to the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera), because I have observed Apis mellifera visiting the flowers of my Dendrobium kingianum. Since I know that Dendrobium kingianum is not autogamous in nature, and the flowers Apis mellifera visit bear fruit, it is thus fair to believe that the surrogate pollinator bee for Dendrobium kingianum here in the United States is Apis mellifera.

A similar thing could be said about your Cycnoches.
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Old 11-15-2018, 08:17 AM
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That makes a lot of sense. I think the particular species is native to the seasonally dry northeast coast of Costa Rica, at least that's what I am told. I'm about 80 kilometers from there, in a very different environment. I'm also trying to figure out if that thing that sticks out is a style with pollinia, or if the pollinia are hiding where the bee seems to be so intent on exploring.
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Old 11-15-2018, 11:27 AM
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The curved "stick" is the column of your Cycnoches' flower. On the very tip of the column there should be an anther cap, (if your Cycnoches is a male). If you knock off the anther cap, the pollinia are tucked away inside.

In order for the bee to successfully pollinate the Cycnoches it has to wander onto the column.

What the bee in the photo is doing is landing on the Cynoches' lip (labellum). It is looking for the source of the flower's fragrance. In the case of Cycnoches I do not specifically know where the flower produces its fragrance or nectar. I don't even know if it solely produces a fragrance or if it produces nectar as well. Suffice it to say, the fragrance would be coming from the general area of the flower's labellum.

As a side note: While it is true that some orchids do not reward the pollinator insect with nectar, this is not always true in every species of orchid.

Some orchids DO reward the pollinating insect with nectar. That nectar is produced by specialized cells in the nectary (aka spur) of the flowers.
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 11-15-2018 at 11:34 AM..
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