Pterygodium cooperi, an orchid (image) Botanical Society of America Share Print E-Mail Caption This is an inflorescence close-up of Pterygodium cooperi, an orchid indigenous to the grasslands of the Drakensberg Mountains in eastern South Africa. This flower secretes non-volatile oil as a pollinator reward and is pollinated by specialized solitary bees in the genus Rediviva (Melittidae). To collect the oil, the bee pushes back on the upper lip with its head while simultaneously inserting its forelegs into the central cup-like lip appendage that curves back into the flower. Using its forelegs with their specialized scraping and absorptive trichomes, it scrapes and wicks up the oil. The oil is transported back to the nest and used for provisioning and construction of the bee's nest cells. The waxy projections of the lower lip cause the bee to slip as it positions itself on the flower and this results in the bee contacting and extracting the pollen sacs (pollinaria) with its hind legs. Credit Kim Steiner Usage Restrictions Cite original publication and credit. Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.