Using petals as ears, the evening primrose sweetens its nectar in minutes when it hears sounds at the frequency of bees’ wing-beats
Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University say they have found a flower that hears the approach of pollinating bees and hawk-moths and produces extra and sweeter nectar in response.
Using the evening primrose, or Oenothera drummondii, the scientists showed that the sound of a flying bee, as well as “synthetic sound-signals at similar frequencies,” induced the flowers to excrete sweeter nectar within three minutes.
The plants’ “ear” is simple: the flower petals themselves, which vibrate when sound waves at the frequency produced by pollinators’ wings pass by, serve as “the plant’s auditory sensory organ.”
The flowers did not respond to higher frequency sound.
“Our results document for the first time that plants can rapidly respond to ….