by Jeff Ollerton and Nick Waser
Ecologists and evolutionary biologists seek to document repeated patterns that they see in nature and to understand the processes that determine these patterns. One example is the idea of “pollination syndromes”, sets of flower characteristics that appear to have repeatedly evolved in different plant families due to the convergent selection applied by specific types of pollinators. Thus, red, scentless flowers are typical of many bird-pollinated plants whilst white, night-scented flowers often signify moth pollination. Plant species that display such archetypical flower traits are used as textbook examples to emphasize a view that plant-pollinator interactions tend to be predictable and specialised.