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2022-07-29T04:54:00.0000000Z
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Plants quick to let their flowers fade for protection

Phys.Org

Pensoft PublishersMicrobes growing on flowers have adverse effects on their yields. This is why plants are quick to shed their flowers, reveals a new study involving both field experiments and plant microbiome analysis.

The findings—made by a joint team of researchers from the Centre for Research on Ecology and Forestry Applications (CREAF, Spain) and Kyoto University (Japan)—are published in the open-access scholarly journal Metabarcoding and Metagenomics.

Scientifically speaking, flowers are a reproductive structure of a plant. Unlike mammals, though, perennial plants develop those de novo every season and only retain them for as long as needed.

While a few earlier studies have already looked into the variation in flower lifespan among species, they were mainly concerned with the tradeoff between plants spending energy on producing and maintaining their flowers, and the benefit they would achieve from retaining their reproductive organs.

Prior to the present study, however, the team found another perspective to look at the phenomenon: why did plants invest their energy—even if the 'cost' was minimal—to produce fragile flowers that would wither in a matter of days, rather than investing a bit more of it to produce a lot more durable ones, thereby increasing their reproductive success?

"Interestingly, flower lifespan is negatively correlated with temperature; the hotter the environment where they bloom, the shorter the period a plant retains them. The phenomenon has been known for a long time," comments Shoko Sakai, author of the present study.

Read on: https://phys.org/news/2022-07-quick.html

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