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Conical epidermal cells cause velvety colouration and enhanced patterning in Mandevilla flowers

Abstract

The majority of angiosperms have flowers with conical epidermal cells, which are assumed to have various functions, such as enhancing the visual signal to pollinators, but detailed optical studies on how conical epidermal cells determine the flower’s visual appearance are scarce. Here we report that conical epidermal cells of Mandevilla sanderi flowers effectively reduce surface gloss, create a velvety appearance and make more efficient use of floral pigments. The interior backscattering yields a cosine angular dependence of reflected light, meaning the flowers approximate near-perfect (Lambertian) diffusers. Together with the large flowers and the tilted corolla tips this generates a distinct visual pattern, which possibly enhances the visibility to pollinators.

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Article information


Submitted
11 May 2020
Accepted
01 Jun 2020
First published
01 Jun 2020

This article is Open Access

Faraday Discuss., 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type
Paper

Conical epidermal cells cause velvety colouration and enhanced patterning in Mandevilla flowers

D. G. Stavenga, M. Staal and C. J. van der Kooi, Faraday Discuss., 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/D0FD00055H

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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