Why the tropics contain more fleshy fruits
Author contact: Bo Wang ([email protected])
For decades, scientists have speculated about the reason that wild tropical fruits are more likely to be fleshy (think bananas, avocados, tomatoes) than fruits from temperate plants (like acorns, sunflowers, and legumes). Theories have attributed the difference to, among other things, the tropics’ warm climate, their abundant fruit-eating animals, or simply a chance association. A new study based on data from thousands of Southwestern Chinese species shows that one reason outweighs all the others: lineage. Closely related plants tend to produce the same type of fruit, leading family trees to determine where fleshy fruits dominate.
Why it matters: Understanding why plant forms and traits vary regionally sheds light on global patterns of biodiversity.
Read the article: Phylogenetic conservatism explains why plants are more likely to produce fleshy fruits in the tropics