National Geographic

The Birds And The Bees ... And The Plants

A hummingbird pollinates an orchid.

hide captionA hummingbird assists in the pollination of an orchid. (Christian Ziegler/National Geographic)

Although cameras keep getting bigger and better, there are still some things that they just can't capture — mainly the things that are smaller. In National Geographic's December issue, Swiss molecular biologist Martin Oeggerli used a scanning electron microscope to look at grains of pollen. The 3-D images, originally black-and-white, and then enhanced with color, look oddly alien. And I hate to say it — because I hate pollen — but they're surprisingly pretty.

1 of 16

View slideshow i

Check out the article and the photo gallery to learn more about the epic journey of pollen — through the air and throughout history.

Also check out this story about the pollination of orchids:

In Partnership With National Geographic

Have an idea? Pitch it!

The Picture Show on Facebook or on Twitter

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: