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Flowers, fruits, and seeds are focal points for ecological interactions between plants and biological aspects of the environment. Many types of flowers serve to attract animals that transfer pollen between flowers. Adaptations of fruits and seeds for dispersal by animals, mainly birds, mammals, and ants, are legion and include attractive colors, scents, and oils, laxatives to speed the passage of seeds through the animal gut, and adhesive structures that attach to fur or feathers. Seed germination is usually subject to very specific environmental controls.
Humans, both intentionally and unintentionally, are by far the most efficient transporters of fruits and seeds. Travelers and explorers have carried many noxious weeds and plant diseases, as well as valuable food and medicinal plants, from one continent to another. Most countries now have strict regulations barring the importation of plant materials, except by special permit, and carrying some plants across borders is not legal under any circumstances. In the United States, for example, certain fruits and seeds that might carry diseases harmful to local agriculture may be barred from entry. Arizona, California, and Hawaii have border inspections to try to prevent the importation of popcorn, citrus, and other fruits across state lines; in the past, such plants have been carriers of diseases or pests that are presently under control.
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