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Tropical plants grow cool flowers

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10:56am, February 12, 2002

By shifting the positions of their flowers, two tropical species keep their blooms at comfortable temperatures for pollinators, say researchers.

Ipomoea pes-caprae and Merremia borneensis in the morning glory family don't track the sun's passage exactly, but they do generally keep blooms facing sunward during the flowering season, say Sandra Patio of the Instituto Humboldt in Bogot, Colombia, and her colleagues. The researchers describe the motion and its ecological effects in the February Oecologia.

The scientists left some flowers alone but modified others by, for example, covering them with grease to prevent cooling by evaporation and mechanically preventing them from facing the sun.

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