Nature & Environment
Scientists discover unique 'werewolf plant'
By T.K. Randall
April 2, 2015 · 7 comments
The plant can somehow sense when there is a full moon. Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Jason Bache
A plant that relies on the lunar cycle for survival is the only one of its kind anywhere in the world.
Discovered entirely by accident by Catarina Rydin and Kristina Bolinder of Stockholm University in Sweden, the new plant appears to secrete small globules of a sugary fluid to help it attract pollinating insects when there is a full moon.
Called Ephedra foeminea
, the unique specimen is the only species known to do this, earning it the nickname 'werewolf plant'. It isn't currently understood how the plant is able to determine when there is a full moon but it could be linked to the moonlight's intensity.
"To the best of our knowledge, this is a first," said Rydin. "At night, the many pollination drops glitter like diamonds in the full moonlight, a spectacular sight also for the human eye."
While there are many examples of animals changing their routines in relation to the full moon, Ephedra
is thought to be the only known plant to exhibit this behavior.
Source: New Scientist
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