Different blossoming schedules have kept these flowers from driving each other extinct

A big part of evolution is competition — when there are limited resources to go around, plants and animals have to duke it out for nutrients, mates, and places to live. To figure out how China’s mountain meadows can support dozens of closely-related flowers without the plants out-competing each other, scientists spent a summer carefully documenting the flowering patterns of 34 Rhododendron species, and they discovered the reason why the plants were able to coexist: they burst into bloom at different points in the season so they don’t have to compete for pollinators.A big part of evolution is competition — when there are limited resources to go around, plants and animals have to duke it out for nutrients, mates, and places to live. To figure out how China’s mountain meadows can support dozens of closely-related flowers without the plants out-competing each other, scientists spent a summer carefully documenting the flowering patterns of 34 Rhododendron species, and they discovered the reason why the plants were able to coexist: they burst into bloom at different points in the season so they don’t have to compete for pollinators.

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