For years, studies have tried to decode the science of attraction among human beings. Though not as complex as our dating world, plants and animals too need a combination of overt and covert signals to attract mates.

Since plants can neither move nor speak a verbal language, pick-up lines are largely ruled out. The plant kingdom, therefore, found another means to attract pollinators – like insects – which transfer pollen grains from the anther, or the male part of a flower, to the stigma, or female part, of another plant.

So how do they signal these insects? By emitting vapours, called volatile organic compounds.

This episode of The Intersection looks at the language of chemicals and signals used by plants to communicate and reproduce and looks at the work done by scientists to study the relationship that plants have with the complex ecosystem around them.

This is the latest episode of The Intersection, a fortnightly podcast on Audiomatic. For more such podcasts, visit