A technique for measuring petal gloss, with examples from the Namaqualand flora
CITATION: Whitney, H. M., Rands, S. A., Elton, N. J. & Ellis, A. G. 2012. A technique for measuring petal gloss, with examples from the Namaqualand flora. PLoS ONE, 7(1):e29476, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029476.
The original publication is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosone
The degree of floral gloss varies between species. However, little is known about this distinctive floral trait, even though it could be a key feature of floral biotic and abiotic interactions. One reason for the absence of knowledge is the lack of a simple, repeatable method of gloss measurement that can be used in the field to study floral gloss. A protocol is described for measuring gloss in petal samples collected in the field, using a glossmeter. Repeatability of the technique is assessed. We demonstrate a simple yet highly accurate and repeatable method that can easily be implemented in the field. We also highlight the huge variety of glossiness found within flowers and between species in a sample of spring-blooming flowers collected in Namaqualand, South Africa. We discuss the potential uses of this method and its applications for furthering studies in plant-pollinator interactions. We also discuss the potential functions of gloss in flowers. © 2012 Whitney et al.