Bats As Pollinators: What Plants Do Bats Pollinate

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Bats are important pollinators for many plants. However, unlike fuzzy little bees, colorful butterflies and other daytime pollinators, bats show up at night and they don’t get a lot of credit for their hard work. However, these highly effective animals can fly like the wind, and they can carry a tremendous amount of pollen on their face and fur. Are you curious about plants that are pollinated by bats? Read on to learn more about the types of plants bats pollinate.

Facts about Bats as Pollinators

Bats are important pollinators in warm climates – primarily desert and tropical climates such as the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and Africa. They are critical pollinators for plants of the American Southwest, including agave plants, Saguaro and organ pipe cactus.

Pollinating is only part of their job, as one bat can eat more than 600 mosquitoes in a single hour. Bats also eat harmful beetles and other crop-decimating pests.

Types of Plants Pollinated by Bats

Advertisement

What plants do bats pollinate? Bats generally pollinate plants that bloom at night. They are attracted to large, white or pale-colored blooms measuring 1 to 3 ½ inches in diameter. Bats like nectar-rich, highly fragrant blooms with a musty, fruity aroma. Flowers are usually tube- or funnel-shaped.

According to the United States Forest Service Rangeland Management Botany Program, more than 300 species of food-producing plants depend on bats for pollination, including:

Other flowering plants that attract and/or are pollinated by bats include:

Print This Article
This article was last updated on
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!

Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Beneficial Garden Friends.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: