UK PlantSci 2013 & the Journal of Experimental Botany

Beverly Glover
University of Cambridge

Running time: 00:27:31 min

Evolution and development of pollinator-attracting petal morphologies


Flowers generate species richness in the Angiosperms through their interaction with animal pollinators, and the flower and animal interact at a single key point – the petal epidermis. It is this single layer of tissue that provides the visual surface that advertises nectar rewards. It is on this layer of tissue that pollinators land to probe the flower for rewards. And it is often from this layer of tissue that the scents that attract pollinators over longer ranges are released. Our recent research has shown two clear functions of the petal epidermis in pollinator attraction – through the optical effects generated by the epidermal cells and through the consequences of epidermal cell morphology for pollinator landing and grip on the flower. The majority of epidermal morphologies will act to facilitate certain plant/pollinator interactions but not others, leading to greater reproductive isolation and speciation within the Angiosperms. I will present our recent work on the petal epidermis, taking molecular genetic, evolutionary and pollinator behavioural perspectives.


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