Living With Psuedoflowers


Puccinia Pseudoflower on Arabis
Photo: Ian Walker

Insect pollination is a well known. Plants produce flowers with odors and food rewards to attract insect visitors. Attracted by odor and color to the flowers, insects feed on the nectar and accumulate pollen which they transport from one plant to another.

Less well known is that some fungi depend on insects to transport their spermatia from one individual to another. Some rust fungi in the genus Puccinia infest Arabis, a plant in the cabbage family. The rust modifies the plant causing the growth of a structure that resembles a flower, but has no pollen or plant reproductive parts. This pseudoflower has its own unique odorous chemicals to attract insects along with a nutritious secretion. Insects such as flies and wasps that typically pollinate flowers are common visitors to the pseudoflowers.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

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