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A close-up view of Aloe vryheidensis flowers with dark-colored nectar visible.

Floral nectar is offered by plants to animals as a reward for pollination. Nectar is usually clear and contains sugar and trace amounts of amino acids. Colored nectar also occurs, but is less common. The nectar of Aloe vryheidensis contains phenolic compounds that give it its dark brown color and a bitter taste. The main effect of the phenolics appears to be to repel certain nectarivores with a bitter taste and attract others with its coloring. The birds that are the most effective pollinators for this species do not seem to be affected by the bitter taste and are attracted to flowers with dark nectar. This photograph originally appeared on the cover of Ecology (87:11) in November of 2006.
Cumulative Rating: This resource has a 3 star rating (based on 1 response)
Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords pollination, mutualism, bird, flower, nectar, distaste, aversion, attraction, color, phenolic, bitter, taste
Key taxa Aloe vryheidensis
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This photograph can be used to illustrate flower parts, nectar, pollination, mutualisms, or as a starting point to discuss different coadaptations between flowers and pollinators.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Primary Author email
Rights Copyright 2006 by the Ecological Society of America.
Date Of Record Submission 2008-04-07

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