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Orchid attracts prey with scent

by webdev

March 15, 2011

The smell of rotting meat may not seem to be the most appetizing one, but to flies it is often unavoidable. Researchers have recently found that the Satyrium pumilum orchid produces a very similar fragrance in order to attract the bugs for pollination.

"We know it's common for orchids to deceive insects into pollinating them. We also know that some plant species can mimic carrion to attract flies," research leader Timotheus van der Niet said. "What we didn't know was how successful this was. Mimicry is often a very poor way to pollinate a plant. So we set out to observe the plants in the wild and see if we could work out how they were attracting flies."

The research team compared the smell emitted from the orchids to that given off by roadkill. In fact, flies that often seek their food from this kind of meat were even more likely to find the orchids.

Research has revealed that many flowers have tools at their disposal to better help them survive. A study in Switzerland recently found that some buds use a certain kind of pollen that will ward away certain bees while attracting others.

This article is brought to you by Teleflora - a leader in the flower delivery service for over 75 years. Teleflora helps its customers buy flowers online and specializes in bringing the freshest available flowers for a variety of holidays and occasions - all hand-delivered in keepsake vases by the best local florists.

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