Pollination mode determines floral scent

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

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The main objective of this study is to determine if the pollination vector influences the potential floral emissions of flowering plants. We hypothesized that flowers pollinated by insects would emit significantly higher amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and would present a higher diversity of these compounds than flowers pollinated by wind. The floral emissions of fifteen entomophilous species and eleven anemophilous species were captured by dynamic headspace sampling under field conditions and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We searched for differences in the emission profiles between anemophilous and entomophilous flowers by considering the effects of phylogeny in our analysis. The floral emissions from the two groups were significantly different. Entomophilous species presented highly diverse emissions in both magnitude of emission rates and richness of compounds depending on the species, but overall, the flowers from entomophilous species had much higher VOC emission rates and VOC richness, both for terpenes and benzenoid compounds, than those from anemophilous species (two orders of magnitude higher emissions). The data thus confirm that the presence of intensely scented flowers with complex scents is strongly related to biotic pollination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-53
    JournalBiochemical Systematics and Ecology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


    • Anemophily
    • Entomophily
    • Floral emissions
    • Floral scent
    • VOC richness


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