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Keywords:

  • basal angiosperm;
  • floral odour;
  • mimicry;
  • pollination strategy;
  • scent ecology;
  • SPME

Many species of Annonaceae are known for their distinctive, penetrating floral aromas. Numerous pollination studies have documented floral scents which probably play a key role in specialized pollination strategies. In particular, floral scents appear to play crucial roles in deceptive pollination strategies, contributing to floral mimicry of ripe or decaying fruits, fungi and, potentially, carrion or faeces. Occasionally, floral scent may advertise genuine floral rewards, as is the case for two species of Unonopsis pollinated by male euglossine bees. To date, ten studies have chemically characterized floral scent for 24 species representing 11 genera of Annonaceae. In this review, I discuss the chemical composition and diversity of the analysed floral scents in Annonaceae. I also summarize and discuss a wide range of (human) perceptual descriptions of floral scent found throughout the literature on Annonaceae. I have framed discussions of floral scent in Annonaceae in ecological and evolutionary contexts whenever possible. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 169, 262–279.