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Positive effects of flower abundance and synchronous flowering on pollination success, and pollinia dispersal in rewardless Changnienia amoena (Orchidaceae)

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Pollination success and pollen dispersal in natural populations depend on the spatial-temporal variation of flower abundance. For plants that lack rewards for pollinators, pollination success is predicted to be negatively related to flower density and flowering synchrony. We investigated the relationships between pollination success and flower abundance and flowering synchrony, and estimated pollinia dispersal distance in a rewardless species, Changnienia amoena (Orchidaceae). The results obtained in the present study revealed that male pollination success was negatively influenced by population size but was positively affected by population density, whereas female pollination success was independent of both population size and density. Phenotypic analysis suggested that highly synchronous flowering was advantageous through total pollination success, which is in contrast to previous studies. These results indicate that pollination facilitation rather than competition for pollinator visits occurs in this rewardless plant. The median distance of pollinia dispersal was 11.5 m (mean distance = 17.5 m), which is comparable to that of other rewardless plants but longer than for rewarding plants. However, pollen transfer occured mainly within populations; pollen import was a rare event. Restricted gene flow by pollinia and seeds probably explains the previous population genetic reporting a high degree of genetic differentiation between populations. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 99, 477–488.

Keywords: phenotypic selection; population density; selection coefficient; synchronous flowering

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China 2: Department of Plant Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala SE-752 36, Sweden

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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