By: Wendy Langhans
When my daughter was young, I taught her how to bake cookies. We learned that in order for the colored sprinkles to stick, we had to first brush the tops of the cookies with a mixture of egg white and a tablespoon of water.
The same thing holds true for flowers. Once a grain of pollen has landed on the stigma (the outermost part of the pistil, the female reproductive organ) it’s in the flowers best interest to make it stick. So the stigma oozes a thick sticky liquid to hold the pollen in place.
But for some plants, there may be another sticky force at work – static electricity. We know that, under fair weather conditions, a weak electrical field exists between the negatively-charged plants and the positively-charged atmosphere. For wind-born pollen, this force could help the positively-charged pollen adhere to the negatively-charged stigma.
If you want to see for yourself what I mean, go purchase a bouquet of flowers (with day lilies) at the local grocery store. Take a close look at the day lily stigma and touch it gently with the tip of your finger. You’ll come away with a sticky residue, colored by pollen grains.
And as an added bonus, the bouquet of flowers will make your sweetie happy.
Our next hike at Towsley Canyon will be on Saturday, August 18 from 8-10 AM. Come join our MRCA volunteer for an early morning bird hike. Towsley Canyon is located on the Old Road, west of I-5 and about 1/4 mile south of the Calgrove exit.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com .
To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to www.hometownstation.com/or  tune in to AM 1220.