What Is Water Pollination?

water-pollination Credit: Huw/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

Water pollination occurs when pollen drifts on water to contact flowers directly, thereby allowing certain plants to reproduce. Plants that utilize this type of pollination are water weeds and pond weeds, according to the U.S Forest Service. The technical name of water pollination is surface hydrophily.

Water pollination works due to water currents that carry pollen either on rivers or lakes. Flowers release pollen, and the grains passively float to another flower. Sometimes, pollen goes underwater in order to germinate. This highly complicated method of reproduction operates with flowering plants of the same species. Flowers need to make a lot of pollen in order to increase their chances of the plant reproducing.

Water pollination is rare, as most flowering plants fertilize flowers with insects or the wind. In the United States, water-pollinated plants are considered invasive, as these plants are normally found in Australia. Plants that use water for pollination don't need to expend a lot of energy producing bright colors or smells to attract insects for reproduction.

Pollination makes a genetically unique seed in flowers to ensure differentiation. That way, the plant's offspring has a greater chance of surviving drastic environmental changes. Better differentiation over time leads to better evolutionary selection over large populations.