|Extrafloral nectaries on a cherry leaf stalk|
Extrafloral nectaries can occur on leaves, plant stalks (petioles), plants stems, fruits and virtually any other above-ground plant part. Extrafloral nectaries can look quite variable in different plant species and can range from single-celled trichomes (plant hairs) to complex cup-like structures.
The nectar produced in extrafloral nectaries is used to attract predatory insects (such as ants or wasps) which will not only drink the nectar but will eat plant-eating insects as well. Thereby the plant recruits its own personal army of bodyguards which are fed with nectar and in return defend the plant against harmful insects.
|Extrafloral nectaries are used to attract predatory insects|
So next time you see a cherry tree have a look for the extrafloral nectaries (located on the leaf stalk and very obvious); maybe you can even see some ants or wasps drinking the nectar.