Special Perspectives

Flowers and Fungi Use Scents to Mimic Each Other

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Science  10 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5762, pp. 806-807
DOI: 10.1126/science.1119499

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Some flowering plants mimic the scent and appearance of mushroom fruiting bodies. Fungi may also mimic flowers. In addition, infection of plants by certain fungi can direct the plant to develop nonfunctional floral-like structures that nonetheless primarily serve the reproductive advantage of the fungus. These various mimicries may serve to attract insects that in turn spread fungal spores or plant pollen, thus facilitating sexual reproduction of the cryptic organism.

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