Botany: A record-breaking pollen catapult

Title:
Botany: A record-breaking pollen catapult
Authors:
Edwards, Joan; Whitaker, Dwight; Klionsky, Sarah; Laskowski, Marta ( 0000-0002-8875-7627 )
Abstract:
The release of stored elastic energy often drives rapid movements in animal systems1, 2, and plant components employing this mechanism should be able to move with similar speed. Here we describe how the flower stamens of the bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis) rely on this principle to catapult pollen into the air as the flower opens explosively3, 4, 5. Our high-speed video observations show that the flower opens in less than 0.5 ms — to our knowledge, the fastest movement so far recorded in a plant. Cornus canadensis grows in dense carpets in the vast spruce-fir forests of the North American taiga. As bunchberry flowers burst open, their petals rapidly separate and flip back to release the stamens (Fig. 1). During the first 0.3 ms, the stamens accelerate at up to 24,000plusminus6,000 m s-2 (2,400g), reaching the high speed (3.1plusminus0.5 m s-1) necessary to propel pollen, which is light and rapidly decelerated by air resistance (terminal velocity, 0.12plusminus0.03 m s-1 (meanplusminuss.e.m.); n=7). The pollen granules are launched to an impressive height of 2.5 cm (range, 2.2–2.7 cm; n=5), which is more than ten times the height of the flower: from this height, they can be carried away by the wind. (For methods and movies, see supplementary information.)
Citation:
Edwards, Joan, Dwight Whitaker, Sarah Klionsky, and Marta J. Laskowski. 2005. "Botany: A record-breaking pollen catapult." Nature 435(7039): 164.
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
DATE ISSUED:
2005-05-12
Department:
Biology
Type:
Article
PUBLISHED VERSION:
10.1038/435164a
Additional Links:
http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/435164a
PERMANENT LINK:
http://hdl.handle.net/11282/607222

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorEdwards, Joanen
dc.contributor.authorWhitaker, Dwighten
dc.contributor.authorKlionsky, Sarahen
dc.contributor.authorLaskowski, Martaen
dc.date.accessioned2016-04-27T13:32:28Zen
dc.date.available2016-04-27T13:32:28Zen
dc.date.issued2005-05-12en
dc.identifier.citationEdwards, Joan, Dwight Whitaker, Sarah Klionsky, and Marta J. Laskowski. 2005. "Botany: A record-breaking pollen catapult." Nature 435(7039): 164.en
dc.identifier.issn0028-0836en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11282/607222en
dc.description.abstractThe release of stored elastic energy often drives rapid movements in animal systems1, 2, and plant components employing this mechanism should be able to move with similar speed. Here we describe how the flower stamens of the bunchberry dogwood (Cornus canadensis) rely on this principle to catapult pollen into the air as the flower opens explosively3, 4, 5. Our high-speed video observations show that the flower opens in less than 0.5 ms — to our knowledge, the fastest movement so far recorded in a plant. Cornus canadensis grows in dense carpets in the vast spruce-fir forests of the North American taiga. As bunchberry flowers burst open, their petals rapidly separate and flip back to release the stamens (Fig. 1). During the first 0.3 ms, the stamens accelerate at up to 24,000plusminus6,000 m s-2 (2,400g), reaching the high speed (3.1plusminus0.5 m s-1) necessary to propel pollen, which is light and rapidly decelerated by air resistance (terminal velocity, 0.12plusminus0.03 m s-1 (meanplusminuss.e.m.); n=7). The pollen granules are launched to an impressive height of 2.5 cm (range, 2.2–2.7 cm; n=5), which is more than ten times the height of the flower: from this height, they can be carried away by the wind. (For methods and movies, see supplementary information.)en
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.publisherNature Publishing Groupen
dc.identifier.doi10.1038/435164aen
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/435164aen
dc.subject.departmentBiologyen_US
dc.titleBotany: A record-breaking pollen catapulten_US
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalNature: International Weekly Journal of Scienceen
dc.identifier.volume435en_US
dc.identifier.issue7039en_US
dc.identifier.startpage164en_US
dc.rightsArchived with thanks to Natureen
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