Role of Anthocyanins in Plant Defence

  • Simcha Lev-YadunEmail author
  • Kevin S. Gould


In addition to their well-documented beneficial effects on plant physiological processes, anthocyanins have also been proposed to function in a diverse array of plant/animal interactions. These include the attraction of pollinators and frugivores, as well as the repellence of herbivores and parasites. The optical properties of anthocyanins may serve as visual signals to potential herbivores, indicating a strong metabolic investment in toxic or unpalatable chemicals. Anthocyanins have also been implicated in the camouflage of plant parts against their backgrounds, in the undermining of insect crypsis, and in the mimicry of defensive structures. These hypotheses have in recent years attracted strong theoretical support and increasing experimental evidence. We emphasize that both the defensive and the physiological functions of anthocyanins may operate in plants simultaneously.


Defensive Role Autumn Leaf Agave Species Batesian Mimicry Understory Herb 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology Faculty of Science and Science EducationUniversity of HaifaOranimIsrael
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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