nyctinasty

David Knorr dak at biosys.apldbio.COM
Wed Jun 10 12:57:58 EST 1992


I like the pollinators theory, but it doesn't necessarily explain
folding of leaves.  One other possibility is that folded flowers may
be better protected against night-feeding insects and thus make it
through the night.  Some of the plants in my herb bed tend to get
munched at night.

In terms of testing these things....it would seem to be rather
difficult to come up with the definitive experiment.  I tend to just
shrug my shoulders and say, "isn't biology wonderful".  Plants have
developed a process (petal folding in this case) that may have
selective advantage.  At the very least, it is apparently not selected
against, hence it persists.  I suppose this could be tested by
developing an isogenic line that doesn't fold its petals then seeing
if it survives as well as petal folders.  (talk about hypothetical).

Dave Knorr
DAK at apldbio.com



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