Cycad sex lives heat up

A species of primitive cycad plant from Australia relies on a surprisingly sophisticated system of meting out food to ensure successful pollination. These plants take an active role in their reproduction by selectively attracting and repelling small insects known as thrips, a new study shows.Scientists had long thought that cycads were passively wind-pollinated. But in a push-pull system, male cones of this “living fossil” species heat up and emit strong odors to send pollen-bearing insects fleeing.

Female cones then emit a more attractive perfume to lure the bugs back in.

Pollination accomplished. . . [ read more Cycad plants ‘woo’ insects with heat, odor’]