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 October 1, 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 October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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