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Tiny pool protects flower buds

Rare flower structures—tiny cups that keep flower buds submerged in their own water baths—can protect the blooms from marauding moths, say researchers.

One species with these cups, Chrysothemis friedrichsthaliana, grows along riverbanks in Central and South America, says Jane E. Carlson of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. A relative of African violets, the plant has hairy leaves and orange, tubular flowers.

As a flower develops, a yellow-green cup, or calyx, forms around the bud. Calyx hairs secrete liquid for 2 to 3 weeks as the bud matures.

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