Colouring the Flower
One of the most obvious ways in which flowers differ from one another is in their colour. This colour is usually the result of pigment deposition in the petals, but in some species brightly coloured bracts, sepals or stamens can provide a similarly striking display. The colour of a flower has traditionally been viewed as one of the ways in which plants attract pollinating animals, and there is considerable literature on the preferences of different pollinators for different colours. In recent years these data have often been reinterpreted, with the emphasis more on contrast and search images, rather than on particular colours as ‘favourites’ of particular animals. This chapter considers the different biochemical pathways through which flowers can become coloured.
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