Do reciprocal herkogamy and pollinators affect the legitimate pollen flow in distylous species?

Marco T. Furtado*, Raphael Matias, Hélder Consolaro, Rocio Perez-Barrales

*Corresponding author for this work

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The function of the reciprocal position of anthers and stigmas of the floral morphs in distylous flowers is to promote cross-pollination between morphs (legitimate pollination). Deviations from reciprocity can negatively affect the rates of legitimate pollen deposition, but other floral traits or the pollination environment might contribute to the function of distyly. In populations of four Palicourea and Psychotria species, we quantified reciprocity using adaptive inaccuracy and measured the stigmatic lobe length to estimate how these traits influenced legitimate pollen deposition. We described the functional groups of pollinators and compared legitimate pollen flow between morphs in populations visited by different groups. Variations in reciprocity and stigmatic lobe length correlated with the rates of legitimate pollen depositions, with more reciprocal stigmas and longer stigmatic lobes presenting proportionally more legitimate pollen. Populations most frequently visited by bees or with generalised pollination displayed asymmetries in pollen flow between morphs, but with higher legitimate pollination in the Smorph. In contrast, L and S-flowers showed similar legitimate pollen deposition in the population predominantly visited by hummingbirds. Our results suggest that reciprocity affects the function of distyly, but floral traits such as stigmatic lobe length and the pollination environment can also influence the rates of legitimate pollen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-539
Number of pages16
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


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