In some species pollination may result in rapid changes in perianth colour and form (petal senescence and abscission, flower closure), rendering the flowers less attractive to pollinators. It has been suggested that this effect is mediated by ethylene. Flowers from about 200 species and 50 families were exposed to ethylene (3 ppm for 24 h at 20 °C). The effects on petal senescence and abscission have been described previously. Flower closure and perianth colour changes were generally ethylene-sensitive, but responses showed no consistency within families. Several flowers known to respond to pollination by rapid cessation of attractiveness were also exposed to ethylene: this produced the same effect as pollination, both on flower colour and form. Species that respond to pollination by changing flower form or colour were found exclusively in families in which the species are generally ethylene-sensitive (with regard to changes in perianth form and colour). However, several families are generally ethylene-sensitive but contain no species reported to respond to pollination.