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  • Florida ghost orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) plant and flower.

    Ghost orchid symbiotic seed germination

    Successful orchid germination, embryo development and seedling establishment require the presence of mycorrhizal fungi. However, little is known about the orchid seed germination niche requirements in situ, especially regarding the role and host specificity of mycorrhizal fungi during germination and subsequent seedling development. Hoang et al. describe the array of effects of the co-culture of […] More

  • Proposed scenario as to how the interplay between evolutionary innovations, developmental robustness and ecological opportunities contributes to the origin of species diversity

    The significance of developmental robustness for species diversity

    Why some taxa are more species-rich than others still represents a major conundrum in biology. Ecological opportunities and evolutionary innovations are considered main factors that drive biodiversity, but are sometimes insufficient to explain current patterns of species richness. In their viewpoint article, Melzer and Theißen argue that developmental robustness might be an underappreciated factor promoting […] More

  • Male fungus gnat (genus Mycomya) showing copulatory behaviour with the labellum of Pterostylis sanguinea. Photograph by R. D. Phillips.

    Botanists uncover the secrets of sexual attraction

    An interesting paper has moved into free access in Annals of Botany: Caught in the act: pollination of sexually deceptive trap-flowers by fungus gnats in Pterostylis (Orchidaceae). It sounds like a very specific paper, and in some ways it is, but it’s also a helpful starting point for looking at sexual deception and pollination. Typically […] More

  • Chiloglottis orchids

    Do pollinators isolate new species of plants?

    It’s time for the last paper of the pollinator-driven speciation week. The previous posts have examined how pollinators can select and cause diversity among plants but, if they’re all the same species, could pollinators simply mix all the genes back up again? Floral odour chemistry defines species boundaries and underpins strong reproductive isolation in sexually […] More

  • Pseudobulbs from Caularthron bilamellatum

    Why is one orchid so happy to cater for ants?

    There’s a paper that’s moved into free access at Annals of Botany. Uptake of ant-derived nitrogen in the myrmecophytic orchid Caularthron bilamellatum by Gegenbauer et al. It describes an odd orchid. Caularthron bilamellatum is a Myrmecophyte. A Myrmecophyte is a plant that has evolved to live with ants. It’s a facultative mutualism which means that […] More