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Squeaks has a Valentine's surprise for Jessi: a bouquet of flowers! Flowers are beautiful and they smell great, but did you know that flowers also do a very important job?
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Squeaks just gave me the nicest Valentine’s Day surprise: a bouquet of flowers!

Flowers are fun to look at and they usually smell great, but they actually have a really important job: They use their pretty colors and smells to attract animals, which help make new plants. If you’ve seen our episode about fruit, you might remember that some animals, like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even bats move powdery stuff called pollen from one flower to another.

These animals are called pollinators, and the pollen they carry helps flowers make the seeds that can grow into new plants! So that’s a flower’s job: to use its nice colors and smells to attract pollinators. Each part of the plant, from the long green stem to the beautiful petals, helps the flower do that job.

And you can see how each part of the plant works if you look at it up close! Botanists, the scientists who study plants, will sometimes learn more about a plant by cutting it open and looking at the pieces. Squeaks, would it be okay if we took a closer look at one of these flowers? 1:10(Squeak squeaks) Great!

You can try this at home, too. All you’ll need is a flower, a knife, and help from a grown up since you’ll need to cut some things. The flower we’re going to use is called a lily, but most other kinds of flowers will work too.

The first thing you should do is separate all the main parts of the flower. Just cut the flower off of the stem, then take off the leaves. Now that all the big parts are separated, you can take a closer look at each of them.

The stem is really strong and stiff! That’s because it needs to support the rest of the plant. The stem also connects to the roots of the plant.

The roots suck up water and nutrients from the ground, and the stem brings them to the leaves and flowers. This flower’s roots were trimmed off, which is why you can’t see them. Another one of the stem’s jobs is to bring food from the leaves to the flower.

So let’s look at the leaves next! Leaves grow out of the stem, and they’re full of green stuff called chlorophyll. When the sun shines on the leaves, the chlorophyll turns the sunlight into food for the plant!

See those little lines running along the leaf? Those are veins, and they’re a lot like the veins that move blood through your body! The veins in the leaf bring water and nutrients in from the stem, and they carry the food the chlorophyll made to the rest of the plant.

So the stem and the leaves collect and carry water, food, and other nutrients that help flowers grow and stay healthy. Now let’s look at the flower! Flowers make a sugary liquid called nectar that pollinators like to eat.

So to a pollinator, a flower’s colors and smell are like a big sign that says “there’s lots of food here, come eat!” If you pull the petals off of the flower, you can see that there are these sort of long, dangly things left inside. They’re called the stamen, and they make the pollen! When a pollinator finds a flower, it comes to eat nectar.

And while it’s eating, pollen from the stamen gets stuck to the animal. Then, when it flies off to get nectar from another flower, it spreads the pollen to that other flower. That’s pollination!

Now there’s just one part left, this sort of big stick thing called a pistil. That’s the part of the flower that collects the pollen that pollinators bring from other flowers. It’s kinda sticky on the end, so the pollen sticks to it.

If pollen from another flower makes its way into the pistil, the pistil can use the pollen to make seeds. And then, those seeds can eventually become new plants! So next time you’re outside, take a look at the flowers around you.

There are thousands of different kinds, but they all do basically the same job. Thanks for joining us today! And thank you, Squeaks, for bringing me such a nice surprise!

I got you something too! (Squeaks squeaks) I’m glad you like it! If you have a question for us about flowers, or pollinators, or anything at all, grab a grownup to leave a comment down below or send us an email at And we’ll see you next time here at the fort!