The primary function of nectar in flowers is to attract pollinators such as fruit-eating bats, hummingbirds, sunbirds, and insects. Most flowers emit very little quantities of nectar, which fosters cross-pollination since animals must visit numerous blooms to have a complete meal. Some plants, such as cottonwood trees, produce large amounts of sugary nectar, which allows them to be visited by larger animals such as birds.
In addition to serving as food for other organisms, the nectar in some plants is also used by them for energy. For example, many insect-pollinated plants store the sugar from the nectar in their bodies before feeding on other plants with their next flight. This way they are able to fly longer distances between meals or when weather conditions are unfavorable for flying.
Some plants, such as corn (maize), use both mechanisms to protect their seeds from being eaten by animals who might otherwise eat them before they can fall onto another plant. The first mechanism is called entomophily and the second one ornithophily. Entomophily means eating insects and ornithophily means eating birds.
Many flowers also contain toxic chemicals in their nectars that protect them from predators. These toxins usually come from alkaloids found in some species of nightshades, such as tomatoes and potatoes.
Nectaries are typically found near the base of flower stamens, where they attract animal visits that come into touch with the pollen to be transmitted. Plants produce nectar because it provides them with nutrients and water. Some plants also produce toxic chemicals in their nectar to protect themselves from harmful insects that would otherwise eat them.
In addition to food and water, plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. So, by offering free CO2, plants are giving away some of their own chemical energy which can then be used by other organisms, including humans. This is why plants produce nectar, they want animals to take it up so they can get rid of this chemical energy.
Some flowers have evolved ways to prevent animals from eating all of the nectar at one time. Some flowers have a spur near the tip of their petals called a "nectar gland". As an insect reaches for a bit of honeydew or sugar syrup on a leaf, a spurt of fluid bursts from the nectar gland, usually hitting the insect in the face. The fluid may be irritating but it doesn't harm humans or animals who consume it. Fluid from some nectar glands contains substances that are toxic to insects that eat the plant. These poisons help plants to protect themselves from predators while still allowing them to reproduce.
These nectaries are typically found inside flowers. Pollinators such as beetles, bees, birds, and bats are drawn to the nectar. The animals get a tasty beverage, and the plant gets pollen adhered to the animal. The nectar acts as a bait to keep pollinators returning. Some plants use scents to attract pollinators. Others use colors or shapes.
Some plants produce both nectar and seeds. These include corn, peas, beans, and cotton. Animals eat the pods or fruit containing the seed and then move on to other food sources. The seed falls off of the plant and starts new plants growing where the old one was.
Others have evolved ways to extract all of the food they can from their host plant without feeding on them. This is called "holistic nutrition." For example, some plants contain chemicals that are toxic to other organisms. They do this by making their own defenses so strong that no other organism can consume them. Then, when animals try to eat the plant, they become sick or die.
Plants have also evolved ways to protect themselves from being eaten. Some contain acids or toxins that kill any animal that eats them. Others have thick skins or bristles that prevent predators from eating them.
Finally, some plants appear to enjoy being eaten. These include mushrooms, fungi, and algae. They obtain their nutrients this way instead of using soil like regular plants do.
A honeybee (Apis mellifera) consumes nectar from a blossom. Some plants have evolved mechanisms to protect themselves by making the nectar toxic or unpleasant-tasting to avoid being eaten by animals that would transfer this toxicity to their offspring.
Honeybees need nutrients other than sugar to make honey, so they search through many different types of plants for those that will help them raise young who will one day become healthy bees. They collect seeds from some plants and use these bundles of fibers called "balloons" to travel long distances back to their hives. These seeds will eventually grow into new trees if planted in suitable soil. Other plants produce fruits that are good food for bees; others provide nests for them to live in while they build new homes; still others produce oils that help bees survive during cold weather.
Bees also benefit from the presence of certain chemicals in flowers. For example, some flowers contain substances that protect them from being eaten by predators before they can reproduce, while others emit smells that attract insects that spread pollen around when they fly from one bloom to another. Still other flowers contain sugars or other nutrients that help bees fuel their flight muscles before they return to the hive.
Pollinators are rewarded with nectar. They require the plants to exist since they are their food supply and source of sugar. We need to keep these plants alive in order to keep the pollinators alive. Pollination is critical. Plants without pollinators will not produce seeds and so will die out. This is why plants provide food for insects.
In addition to providing food, some insects also eat harmful insects. For example, aphids feed on the juices of plants and release enzymes that break down the parts of other insects such as caterpillars. The insect dies and its nutrients are used by the plant. This is called "defensive mutualism".
Some plants emit chemicals that protect them from being eaten. These chemicals may be smells or substances in their leaves or flowers that make eating them unpleasant. For example, roses have toxins in their flowers that ward off insects so they won't get eaten before they reach their most valuable stages. This is called "toxic defense".
Plants provide food for insects so they will help spread the genes for those traits that make them more attractive to humans. In return, the plants get eaten when they don't produce seeds or leave enough food for their pollinators.
There are many reasons why plants provide food for insects. It's important for both parties to survive so they can continue exchanging roles over time.