Effects of floral restrictiveness and stigma size on heterospecific pollen receipt in a prairie community.

Abstract:

:Plant species vary greatly in the degree to which floral morphology restricts access to the flower interior. Restrictiveness of flower corollas may influence heterospecific pollen receipt, but the impact of floral morphology on heterospecific pollen transfer has received little attention. We characterized patterns of pollinator visitation and quantities of conspecific and heterospecific pollen receipt for 29 species with a range of floral morphologies in a prairie community dominated by the introduced plant Euphorbia esula (leafy spurge) which has an unrestrictive morphology. Pollinator overlap was significantly greater between Euphorbia and other unrestrictive flowers than restrictive flowers. Compared to flowers with restrictive morphologies, unrestrictive flowers received significantly more Euphorbia pollen, more heterospecific pollen from other sources, and a greater diversity of pollen species, but not more conspecific pollen. However, stigmatic surface area was significantly larger for flowers with unrestrictive morphologies, and the density of Euphorbia and other heterospecific pollen per stigmatic area did not significantly differ between flower types. These findings suggest that the smaller stigma size in restrictive flowers partly accounts for their decreased heterospecific pollen receipt, but that restrictiveness also allows species to increase the purity of pollen loads they receive. Given that restrictive flowers receive fewer heterospecific pollen grains but at a higher density, the effect of restrictiveness on fecundity depends on whether absolute quantity or density of heterospecific pollen affects fecundity more. Our results also indicate that abundant neighbors are not necessarily important heterospecific pollen sources since Euphorbia pollen was rarely abundant on heterospecifics.

journal_name

Oecologia

journal_title

Oecologia

authors

Montgomery BR,Rathcke BJ

doi

10.1007/s00442-011-2094-x

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2012-02-01 00:00:00

pages

449-58

issue

2

eissn

0029-8549

issn

1432-1939

journal_volume

168

pub_type

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