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Flower Science: Flowers' Neon Sign


New research published by Bristol University's Professor Daniel Robert suggests that flowers have their own equivalent of a neon sign. Neon sign? Flowers? What do they have to do with each other you may ask. Hang with us here a minute.

Flowers must work much as advertising execs to attract pollinators. We already know that they use strong fragrances and attractive colors in their advertising but Roberts has found that they also communicate with bees through electrical signals. The signal aids bees in deciphering between a recently visited flower and a not visited flower that is full of nectar. Professor Roberts says, "The last thing a flower wants is to attract a bee and then fail to provide nectar: a lesson in honest advertising since bees are good learners and would soon lose interest in such an unrewarding flower." Read much more about this exciting discovery here.

Images via Bristol University

These pictures show geranium, clematis, and gerbera flowers before and after application of charged powder paint. The powder paint reveals the shape of the electrical field.