What pollinates wild ginger? This seems like an easy question. The inconspicuous little flowers are held close to the forest floor, often completely hidden by a dense canopy of ginger leaves above. Flower color is rather drab, dominated by brown and maroon hues. Wind pollination seems completely unlikely and flowers pollinated by bees, butterflies, moths, or hummingbirds are always much more showy and accessible to these flying creatures. Flies, however, given their natural inclination to seek carrion as a food source for their babies (i.e. maggots), are often attracted to brown and maroon flowers. And because their actual quarry, animal carcasses, would be located on the ground, visiting a wild ginger flower could easily be perceived to be consistent with routine fly behavior. It seems obvious: wild ginger flowers sure look like they ought to be cross-pollinated by flies of some sort.

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2010

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2010, Virginia Native Plant Society. This article first appeared in Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society: 29:1 (2010), 1, 6.

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