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News Story
Updated: 02/17/2017 08:30:02AM

Plants say it with flowers

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TIM LETHBRIDGE PHOTO

A fly visits a Beggars-Tick flower.

THOMAS EISNER PHOTO

A mint flower growing in Sebring.

THOMAS EISNER PHOTO

A saw palmetto flower.

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On Valentine’s Day biologists at the Archbold Biological Station enjoy sending and receiving romantic gifts of flowers just as much as anybody else. The colors and fragrances of flowers make them a perfect gift. Out in nature, however, biologists appreciate the messages of flowers in a different way.

Most wildflowers are sending signals to insects, using perfumes or attractive color displays to advertise nectar and pollen. Pollen is the fine powdery substance produced by male plants (think, flower sperm) that is carried by insects (or other animals, or wind) to the female part of the flower and fertilizes it.

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