Ecology of Plastic Flowers

Quint Rusman*, Dani Lucas-Barbosa, Erik H. Poelman, Marcel Dicke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Plant phenotypic plasticity in response to herbivore attack includes changes in flower traits. Such herbivore-induced changes in flower traits have consequences for interactions with flower visitors. We synthesize here current knowledge on the specificity of herbivore-induced changes in flower traits, the underlying molecular mechanisms, and the ecological consequences for flower-associated communities. Herbivore-induced changes in flower traits seem to be largely herbivore species-specific. The extensive plasticity observed in flowers influences a highly connected web of interactions within the flower-associated community. We argue that the adaptive value of herbivore-induced plant responses and flower plasticity can be fully understood only from a community perspective rather than from pairwise interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-740
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • flower traits
  • flower visitors
  • herbivore-induced plant responses
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • plant defense
  • specificity

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