cross-species hanky-panky

My first-year students & I are currently studying plants. This is actually something of a balancing act from my perspective as a reasonably large proportion of the class didn’t study the ‘diversity in plant structure & function’ standard back in year 12 (or don’t remember doing so), so I’ve got to bring them up to speed without boring the others.

Anyway, when we get on to talking about flowering plants, one of the topics is adaptations for pollination. Some flowering plants (eg grasses) simply shed their pollen to the wind, but for many successful pollination has required the establishment of a plant-animal relationship. And some of those involve some very kinky activity indeed – the animal ‘vector’ comes to a flower, not for a nectar reward, but because in its eyes the flower looks like a member of the opposite sex…

And thanks to PZ, who always finds these things first!

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