Scientists and gardeners seem to be unable to resist the charm of gorgeous flowers or towering stems. A new study finds that botanists’ research is relentlessly biased towards showy plants, while the most monotonous, dull and shortest plants are often left behind—even if they are already on the brink of extinction.
Analyze, publish exist Natural plants, Reviewed 280 studies of 113 plant species in the southwestern Alps from 1975 to 2020, which is a major biodiversity hotspot. Researchers collected data on plant morphology (characteristics such as size and color), ecology, and rarity. Statistics on the number of studies conducted on each plant show that eye-catching plants have attracted more scientific attention.
The lead author of the study, Martino Adamo, a biologist at the University of Turin in Italy, said that although blue is one of the most common flower colors, the color of the flower varies from indigo to cyan. Flower plants have been disproportionately studied. Plants with red, pink, or white flowers are better than plants with brown or green flowers, and tall-stemmed plants also stand out—not just literally.
“Our findings do not indicate that the researchers are focusing on more beautiful plants,” Adamo said. “It’s that flowering plants that are more conspicuous, easier to locate, and colorful are getting more attention.”
The team had hoped to find more endangered species among the most studied species, but this is not the case. Researchers say this counterintuitive result could have a major impact on plant science. The study’s co-author and botanist Kingsley Dixon of Curtin University in Australia said that prejudice against “fascinating” plants could mean “we may miss out on how plants grow, evolve, and adapt. Extraordinary, unknown story”. “In addition, we may miss species that may quickly go extinct, and we don’t even have basic information about protecting the seed bank.”
Adamo added: “These results indicate that our subconsciousness may be stronger than expected in the selection of the species model; this is not a tragedy, but something that needs to be considered when planning future work. The results echo the earlier findings, namely Brightly colored, more attractive and popular mammals and birds appear more often in conservation and funding efforts, regardless of their scarcity.
Kathryn Williams, a researcher in environmental psychology at the University of Melbourne who was not involved in the new study, said that the potential consequences of this prejudice “are important for broader plant protection and environmental decision-making. Regarding the availability of species data and the The strength of the evidence base,” she added, “will play a role in making difficult decisions about where to direct protection efforts and funding.”