Optimum temperature for floral terpene emissions tracks the mean temperature of the flowering season

Gerard Farré-Armengol, Iolanda Filella, Joan Llusià, Ülo Niinemets, Josep Peñuelas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    © CSIRO 2015. Emissions of volatiles from leaves exhibit temperature dependence on maximums, but the optimum temperatures for the release of floral volatiles and the mechanism(s) of optimising these emissions have not been determined. We hypothesised that flowers have an optimum temperature for the emission of volatiles and, because the period of flowering varies highly among species, that this optimum is adapted to the temperatures prevailing during flowering. To test these hypotheses, we characterised the temperature responses of floral terpene emissions of diverse widespread Mediterranean plant species flowering in different seasons by using dynamic headspace sampling and analysis with GC-MS. The floral emissions of terpenes across species exhibited maximums at the temperatures corresponding to the season of flowering, with the lowest optimal temperatures observed in winter-flowering and the highest in summer-flowering species. These trends were valid for emissions of both total terpenes and the various terpene compounds. The results show that the optimum temperature of floral volatile emissions scales with temperature at flowering, and suggest that this scaling is the outcome of physiological adaptations of the biosynthetic or emission mechanisms of flowers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)851-857
    JournalFunctional Plant Biology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


    • flower scent
    • interspecific variation
    • phenology
    • seasonal variability


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