FW: Flowers and plant reproduction

Angus Murphy murphy at BIOLOGY.UCSC.EDU
Thu Apr 30 15:53:31 UTC 1998

Dear Indologists,
        I am currently researching some aspects of the history of the study of flowering plants for some popular science writing. One of the most crucial issues in such a history is that of sexual reproduction by plants. Although the Greeks appear to have understood that some plants like the date palm were unable to fertilize themselves and recognized two different flower types, pollen was regarded as a form of excrement rather than an agent of fertilization.
        So far, in my amateur inquiries into early Indian writings, I find references to male and female flowers based on their shape or form and descriptions of pollen as dust, but no specific mention of hybridization or pollination. Yet there are some poetic texts that seem to include pollen gathering by bees in metaphors for amorous pastimes. Are ther any sources ( In English or another Western language) that I can be directed to? 
        Any information offered would be appreciated and , if used, would be properly attributed.
                Thanking you in advance for any assistance.
                                                                Angus Murphy
                                                                Biology Dept.
                                                                University of California, Santa Cruz

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