28 February, 2014

Stimulation of flower nectar replenishment by removal: A survey of eleven animal-pollinated plant species

by Elaine Y. Luo, Jane E. Ogilvie, and James D. Thomson

Using paper wicks to remove nectar from two nectar spurs in a Delphinium nuttallianum (larkspur) flower

Floral nectar acts as a reward to pollinators and its secretion pattern plays a role in mediating plant-pollinator interactions. Flowers may regulate their nectar production in response to its removal, but it remains unclear whether this phenomenon is widespread. For eleven species of Colorado wildflowers, we test for removal-enhanced nectar replenishment (RENR), in which removal of nectar stimulates an increase in nectar production. We found that RENR is common and is displayed by nine of our eleven study species. This ability to dynamically produce nectar in response to its demand highlights an important consideration in studying pollinator rewards.

Read the scientific publication in JPE.

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