Flowers can hear buzzing bees and it makes their nectar sweeter
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of National Geographic
Posted: July 28th, 2019
Sound is so elemental to life and survival that it prompted Tel Aviv University researcher Lilach Hadany to ask: What if it wasnt just animals that could sense sound - what if plants could, too? The first experiments to test this hypothesis ... suggest that in at least one case, plants can hear, and it confers a real evolutionary advantage. Hadanys team looked at evening primroses (Oenothera drummondii) and found that within minutes of sensing vibrations from pollinators wings, the plants temporarily increased the concentration of sugar in their flowers nectar. In effect, the flowers themselves served as ears, picking up the specific frequencies of bees wings while tuning out irrelevant sounds like wind. A sweeter treat for pollinators, their theory goes, may draw in more insects, potentially increasing the chances of successful cross-pollination. Indeed, in field observations, researchers found that pollinators were more than nine times more common around plants another pollinator had visited within the previous six minutes. As the team thought about how sound works, via the transmission and interpretation of vibrations, the role of the flowers became even more intriguing. Though blossoms vary widely in shape and size, a good many are concave or bowl-shaped. This makes them perfect for receiving and amplifying sound waves, much like a satellite dish. This single study has cracked open an entirely new field of scientific research, which Hadany calls phytoacoustics.
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