Shrub Attracts Pollinators By Glittering Under the Full Moon

On the cliffs of the Mediterranean, there grows an untidy, scrambling shrub called Ephedra foeminea. It isn’t the prettiest of plants, but once a year, in the middle of July, it becomes far more appealing. On the night of the full moon, the shrub exudes small, sweet droplets from its red cones. Without any clouds or trees in the way, these drops catch the full intensity of the moonlight, reflecting them into the eyes of passers-by. The shrub sparkles, as if covered in diamonds.

“We find it ever so beautiful,” says Catarina Rydin, from the University of Stockholm.

She thinks that the precisely timed lightshow attracts night-flying pollinators like ...

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