In Communication with Semaa: Exploring Floral Nectar Secretion in Nicotiana Rustica
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In some Indigenous creation stories, Semaa (Nicotiana rustica) was one of the first plants on Turtle Island, given to humanity to facilitate discussions between the spiritual and physical realms. The original communicator, this paper explores one of the ways Semaa is in communication with the natural world. Through measuring the volume, sugar concentration, and sugar available in floral nectar secreted by Semaa over their flowering period, better insight was gained into the condition’s pollinators, florivores, and other animals may experience when visiting these plants. Semaa flowers secrete larger volumes of nectar throughout the night compared to during the day, while nectar concentrations stayed consistent throughout. Consequently, more nectar sugars are available to nighttime floral visitors. This finding suggests Semaa may produce nectar at relatively constant concentrations, regulating instead how much is secreted in response to the time of day.