Enhancing Flower Colour
The production of coloured tissues, particularly insect-attracting petals, depends upon the synthesis of pigments. Plants are able to mix, modify and enhance pigments to produce a vast array of final petal colours. These colours are usually distributed across the flower in patterns, which vary in their degree of regularity and complexity between different species. While colour contrast is much more important than pattern for attracting pollinators from a distance, pattern becomes important at close range and allows animals to distinguish between flowers of different species and to learn to ‘handle’ flowers. This chapter considers the effects of mixing pigments together, the regulation of pigment distribution in the flower, and the use of metals, pH, and cell shape to modify the final colour of the flower.
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