Penstemon digitalis flowers in Biocore Prairie exhibit nectar replenishment when exposed to periodic nectar removal and artificial pollination – Liliana Palencia and Molly Overby

(L&S Honors Sophomore Honors Research Apprenticeship recipients)

Pollinators perform nectar removal and pollination. Though research shows that pollinator visits prompt nectar replenishment, it is unclear whether nectar replenishment is differentially affected by nectar removal and/or pollination. We hypothesized that Penstemon digitalis exposed to nectar extraction would replenish nectar volumes equal to controls. We hypothesized that combinations of artificial pollination and nectar removal would stop nectar production. We exposed P. digitalis to four treatments to evaluate the effects of repeated nectar removal and artificial pollination. While the efficacy of artificial pollination was uncertain, results indicate that P. digitalis replenishes nectar after extraction and produces nectar progressively.