A technique for measuring petal gloss, with examples from the Namaqualand Flora
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.