Breeding two orchid species creates a new fragrance

Nicolas J. Vereecken, speaking on behalf of a team of researchers, explains:

Our study provides a unique window into the stepwise process by which apparent reproductive barriers can be broken down and how new combinations of floral traits can be generated, leading to the evolution of novel, highly specific plant-pollinator interactions. … The fact that some plants reproduce by advertising a false promise of sex to patrolling male bees is an extraordinary strategy. These orchids rely almost exclusively on their floral fragrance to attract pollinators on a highly specific basis, and this pollination mechanism is so far only known from the orchid family.

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