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Plant Communication and Reproduction

Plant Communication and Reproduction

(p.109) 7 Plant Communication and Reproduction
Plant Sensing and Communication
Richard Karban
University of Chicago Press

Plants are incapable of fertilization and seed dispersal without external agents and they provide these agents with rewards, including informative cues. Animals visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen and fertilize seeds only as a byproduct. Flowers advertise for visitors although not all visitors pollinate. Flowers sometimes increase rates of outcrossing by limiting visitation to a subset of visitors using physical means or specific cues. Female plants may influence fertilization of their ovules by manipulating cues and other resources as well as selectively aborting seeds fertilized by certain fathers. Plants often reward seed dispersers by providing nutritious fruits or seeds. Since seed and fruit feeders vary in the quality of their services, plants attempt to control seed and fruit dispersers.

Keywords:   fertilization, flower visitor, fruit, nectar, pollination, seed abortion, seed dispersal

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