2022-01-20

Sunflowers have invisible colours that aid with stress reduction. Why Is This Important In A Warming Climate, According To A Study

By Shaista
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Sunflowers are lovely flowers with bright yellow petals that make them stand out. The thick collection of yellow petals, also known as an inflorescence (a grouping of flowers), obscures some patterns to the naked sight.
The ultraviolet (UV) bullseye pattern found on sunflowers is visible to humans but not to most insects, including bees.
Bullseye patterns have long been known to increase the visibility of flowers, making them more appealing to pollinators.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia have discovered that the chemicals that produce these unseen colors in sunflowers also help the plant cope with challenges like drought and high heat.
The work was published in the journal eLife this week.
The findings could lead to new insights into how plants adapt to diverse climates.
According to a statement released by the University of British Columbia, lead author Marco Todesco said that the researchers unexpectedly noticed that sunflowers growing in drier climates had flowers with larger UV bullseyes, and discovered that those flowers are able to retain water more efficiently.

He went on to say that the larger UV bullseyes may help plants adapt to these drier conditions.
In 2016 and 2019, Todesco and his team produced about 2,000 wild sunflowers of two species at the University. According to the study, researchers studied the sunflowers' UV patterns  examined their genomes, and discovered that wild sunflowers from different parts of North America had UV bullseyes of varying sizes.
Some wild sunflowers featured a small ring around the bullseye, while others had a bullseye that spanned the entire flower.
Bees were seen more regularly visiting the blooms with larger bullseyes. According to a statement released by the University of British Columbia, water can be used more efficiently.

 

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