The concept of a generalist flower appears to mean different things to different people, depending upon their background and training. We assess the different meanings of generalist flowers with respect to the ecological "set and setting" of pollination, and then we discuss notions of ecological, functional and phenotypic generalization. These ideas are explored in more detail using examples from our own published and unpublished studies on the pollination ecology of Daucus carota, Hedera helix, and Chamerion angustifolium, and from the published work of other researchers. Finally we relate these ideas and clarified definitions of "generalist" and "specialist" flowers to the pollination syndrome concept.
- Pollination biology
- Species interactions