28 February, 2014

Tiny Parasite Depends on Potent Perfume to Attract Pollinators

by S. D. Sipes, K. E. Huff Hartz, H. Amin, A. Anterola, and D. L. Nickrent

Flowers of thurber’s stemsucker
Parasitic plants steal resources such as water and sugars from other plants. Thurber’s stemsucker is a parasitic plant of the southwestern U.S. that grows inside the stems of a small shrub called featherplume. Thurber’s stemsucker lacks the ability to perform photosynthesis and is entirely dependent on its host plant. In early summer, the tiny, inconspicuous flowers of Thurber’s stemsucker emerge from the featherplume stems. What these flowers lack in showy appearance, they make up for with a powerfully sweet fragrance that attracts pollinators, and can be smelled by humans up to several meters away.

Read the whole summary in: English!
Read the scientific publication in JPE.

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