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Striped flowers help direct bees to pollen

by webdev

October 14, 2010

Researchers at the John Innes Center in the UK have discovered that flowers with stripes help guide bees so that they can pollinate, according to MSNBC.

The research team spent several summers analyzing the patterns of bumblebees on snapdragon plants, which feature stripes on their petals. According to the scientists, bees were more likely to visit striped and red flowers over other plants.

"Stripes following the veins of flowers are one of the most common floral pigmentation patterns, so we thought there must be some advantage for pollination," Cathie Martin, who worked on the study, told the news source.

According to the news source, bees often memorize shapes, scents, colors and designs on flower petals to help them remember where flowers grow during warm seasons.

A specific gene in the flowers may be responsible for the enticing stripes. The researchers found that the trait has been prevalent throughout the entirety of the snapdragon's ancestry.

Snapdragons grow in the wild, but are a wonderful addition to any floral arrangement. According to, the plant varieties include white, scarlet, yellow, pink and purple flowers.


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