PerspectivePlant Science

Jack of All Trades, Master of Flowering

Science  08 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6120, pp. 659-660
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234601

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Summary

Artists and scientists have long pondered the beauty and mystery of flowers and their origins. To Maurice Maeterlinck, the Nobel laureate in literature, the most striking feature of plants was the diversity of flowers, organs that evolved to enhance sexual reproduction (1). Charles Darwin was fascinated with the rapid expansion and dominance of flowering plants (angiosperms) in the late Cretaceous, a phenomenon he called "the abominable mystery" (2). Along with the evolution of flowers came the need for plants to trigger flowering at the right time. On page 704 of this issue, Wahl et al. report that an internal cue—the sugar metabolite trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P)—helps to ensure that flowering occurs at the time optimal for successful reproduction (3).