They don’t have ears, yet they react to the sound of passing pollinators. That was discovered by researchers. Their findings can be read in the BioRxiv magazine.
The researchers exposed evening primroses to the sound of a flying bee and discovered that the flowers within three minutes produced much sweeter nectar in response. That way they increase the chance of cross-pollination.
So it seems that evening primroses can perceive the sound of passing bees. But how do they do it? According to the researchers, the flowers of the plant serve as a hearing organ. "We discovered that the flowers vibrated in response to these sounds," the scientists wrote.
Also noticeable is that the flowers do not react to all vibrations. "The flowers reacted to the sounds of pollinators, but not to sounds with a higher frequency," according to the researchers.
According to the scientists, for the first time it has been proved that plants do react very rapidly and in a useful way to the sound of pollinators. The discovery may also have implications for the evolution of both plants and pollinators. For example, the researchers do not exclude that the current shape of flowers is not only intended to attract pollinators, but also to be able to hear them. In addition, it is possible that pollinators have evolved so much that they have started to produce sounds that are perceptible to plants. "Finally, our results suggest that plants are also affected by other sounds - including man-made sounds," the scientists conclude.