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Botanics

The origin of the mango flower’s sweet smell

There are almost 800 species in the anacardiaceae family, which is common in tropical regions. As well as producing nectar as a reward for pollinators, its flowers also have another more rare feature—they release an odor to help guide animals to their pollen. Botanists Elisabeth Tölke and Sandra Guerreiro, from the University of Campinas, and Diego Demarco, from the University of São Paulo, had already observed that the cashew, mango, and cajuzinho-do-campo flowers give off a sweet aroma. Now, using microscopic techniques, they have discovered that in the mango and cajuzinho-do-campo flowers, the scent glands are located at the inner base of the petals. The former produces 21 volatile compounds, and the second produces 39 (ABO Plants, December 2018).

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