Single-sex flowers release his, hers fragrances

Growing on the same tree, male blooms smell different from female blooms

By Susan Milius, 18:55 PM October 22, 2013

With the right tropical tree, a quick sniff can tell the boy flowers from the girls.

These Glochidion and Phyllanthus species separate their sex organs into male-only and female-only clusters of flowers. Even a human nose easily identifies the sex, says Tomoko Okamoto of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan.

Many flowers of a single species smell similar, if not identical. After all, they need to lure the same pollinator. Among the double-odor trees, however, cl...

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