Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Withering well can improve fertility

Date:
September 26, 2010
Source:
Oxford University Press
Summary:
Contrary to a thousand face cream ads, the secret of fertility might not be eternal youth. Research from Spain has shown that the withering action of flowers may have evolved to protect their seeds.

Lavender flower.
Credit: iStockphoto/Marko Jamnik

Contrary to a thousand face cream adverts, the secret of fertility might not be eternal youth. Research by the ecologist Dr. Carlos Herrera, a Professor of Research at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientνficas in Seville, Spain has shown that the withering action of flowers may have evolved to protect their seeds.

His research is published in the October 2010 issue of the Annals of Botany.

Prof. Herrera said: "No one has paid much attention to the corollas, collections of petals on a flower, when they shrivel. Their job is done, so it's no surprise they die. But if their job is done, why don't the petals simply drop off the plant? I thought there might be an advantage that kept the old corollas on the plant."

To test his idea, Herrera conducted a very simple experiment. He removed dead petals from some lavender. Then he observed what happened to the seeds.

Prof. Herrera said: "The results for the lavender were striking. Normally you'd expect around 60% of the lavender fruits to ripen. Without the withered petals around the fruit, only 40% ripened. The dead petals seem to have formed a protective barrier around the fruit. In this case the barrier helps prevent attack by gnat larvae who like to feed on lavender seeds."

He also tried the same experiment with some violas, but got a different result.

"For violas I found that the petals helped increase the number of seeds per fruit, but had no effect on ripening. It's clear that the petals are doing something important for the plant after they decay, but it is a complex relationship that needs more study. Still, it shows there is a major role for petals to play on a plant, even after the bloom of youth has gone."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. M. Herrera. Marcescent corollas as functional structures: effects on the fecundity of two insect-pollinated plants. Annals of Botany, 2010; 106 (4): 659 DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcq160

Cite This Page:

Oxford University Press. "Withering well can improve fertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084210.htm>.
Oxford University Press. (2010, September 26). Withering well can improve fertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084210.htm
Oxford University Press. "Withering well can improve fertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100924084210.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) — The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins