Bumper blooms left high and dry


LARGE and showy flowers may help plants to catch the eye of insect pollinators, but they are an expensive luxury in arid climates. During the dry month of June, Candace Galen of the University of Missouri in Columbia and her colleagues found lower rates of photosynthesis in plants with larger flowers growing on a Colorado mountainside. According to Galen, the plants lose so much water through the petals of their extravagant flowers that they sometimes have to close their leaf pores, shutting down photosynthesis (Oecologia, vol 118, p 461). Galen says this drawback may counterbalance a tendency for plants to evolve larger flowers,
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