Historically, dichogamy (the temporal separation of gender in flowering plants) has been interpreted as a mechanism for avoiding inbreeding. However, a comparative survey found that many dichogamous species are self-incompatible (SI), suggesting dichogamy evolved for other reasons, particularly reducing interference between male and female function. Here we re-examined the association between dichogamy and SI in a phylogenetic framework, and tested the hypothesis that dichogamy evolved to reduce interference between male and female function. Using paired comparisons and maximum-likelihood correlation analyses, we find that protandry (male function first) is positively correlated with the presence of SI and protogyny (female function first) with self-compatibility (SC). In addition, estimates of transition-rate parameters suggest strong selection for the evolution of SC in protogynous taxa and a constraint against transitions from protandry to protogyny in SC taxa. We interpret these results as support for protandry evolving to reduce interference and protogyny to reduce inbreeding.
Citation ~ SIandDichogamy.pdf