That is part of the selling spiel on the back and online for the highly touted and very worthwhile What a Plant Knows: a Field Guide to the Senses, by Daniel Chamovitz, a Scientific American book published in 2012.
from the blurbs
"...scientifically accurate..." - Professor Stephen D. Hopper, director, Royal Botanical Gardens
Hormones, pheromones, what does the difference matter?
Dr Chamovitz does explain inside the book that the ripening secret is of course, ethylene, which has been called the 'aging hormone in plants' and 'the ripening hormone' in the pages of Scientific American. But if one learns the pheromone factoid and mashes it with other information, as we tend to, one can end up then adding up both to Learn the Secret of Secrets. Age+=IrresistibleAttractiveness+. Pile on those years!
The book itself is well written, the concentration on plants' reactions quite fascinating. The wide praise that What a Plant Knows has garnered is well deserved. So either it's a shame that this factoid is sitting in pride of place to no good end, or I'm just making a fool of myself, displaying my ignorance. I'm no scientist. So my question to Dr Chamovitz is: Is this a factoid you wish to stand by: "it's the pheromones"?
If not, what's going on?
Pop trends in pop sci books
The reason I ask this question is that I see a trend in popular science books, to churn them out and damn the facts, instead, filling the minds of innocents with factoids that are sensational, but wrong, not that anyone's complaining. One example of this is the text of the book Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline, who has also written in this series, Fifty Minerals... and Fifty Machines....
This is an ambitious and growing series from Firefly Books, every one looking like a book to trust, use as a reference, and above all, to have around for children to learn from. Filled with pictures that illustrate the topics excellently, and very attractively designed. However, the information itself is where the series fails. Here's an excerpt from Fifty Animals... by Chaline, about the Camel:
"In the nineteenth century...the US Army had its own camel corps for transportation in the Southwest during its war against the Native Americans in Florida."
Because most nonfiction books are packaging exercises as this series is, the going cheap on the actual text here could be forgiven, if it weren't a series that otherwise looks so good that, as my local library did, buying this series is as much a no-brainer must-have to a public library as encyclopedias once were. But encyclopedias were like beehives, buzzing with many authors, in a time when time meant time, and not no time. What bugs me most is that sloppiness of information when presented so attractively and sensationally, corrupts young minds (old ones tend to forget it, so I'm not so worried about the wrinkled browed). And it's odd, too. Books that are supposed to be definitive sources are most reliable when they're written for the wrinkle-browed, who love nothing better than waving their sticks at false factoids, so there's more care put into books for those who are no longer young and supple.
Ah well, I think I must be showing my pheromones.