Floral colour change as a potential signal to pollinators

Graeme D. Ruxton, H. Martin Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Colour change in flowers (with age and/or after pollination) is taxonomically widespread, has evolved repeatedly, and has a range of putative selective benefits linked to modifying pollinator behaviour; however, this phenomenon seems paradoxically uncommon. We explore this paradox by reviewing the empirical evidence and argue that the evolution and maintenance of floral colour change as a signal to modify pollinator behaviour require special ecological circumstances that will often not be met across a plant population for a sustained number of generations, which potentially explains the scarcity of this phenomenon. We discuss alternative explanations for floral colour change and potentially fruitful lines of future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Plant Biology
Early online date16 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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