On the Trails: Electric flowers and platform plants


Many plants produce flowers as a way of attracting animal visitors that can pick up pollen and move it to another flower. Flowers come in an array of colors — all the wavelengths we can see plus ultraviolet (which most humans cannot see). A yellow flower with a UV pattern is readily distinguishable from other yellow flowers — to the many kinds of animals (including insects and hummingbirds) that can see UV. That’s been known for many years.

However, flowers actually have (at least) two ways of enhancing their distinctiveness that humans generally cannot detect without special equipment. More recent research has found that plants can exploit another sensory

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