Protandry, a form of temporal separation of gender within hermaphroditic flowers, may reduce the magnitude of pollen lost to selfing (pollen discounting) and also serve to enhance pollen export and outcross siring success. Because pollen discounting is strongest when selfing occurs between flowers on the same plant, the advantage of protandry may be greatest in plants with large floral displays. We tested this hypothesis with enclosed, artificial populations of Chamerion angustifolium (Onagraceae) by experimentally manipulating protandry (producing uniformly adichogamous or mixed protandrous and adichogamous populations) and inflorescence size (two-, six-, or 10-flowered inflorescences) and measuring pollinator visitation, seed set, female outcrossing rate, and outcross siring success. Bees spent more time foraging on and visited more flowers of larger inflorescences than small. Female outcrossing rates did not vary among inflorescence size treatments. However, seed set per fruit decreased with increasing inflorescence size, likely as a result of increased abortion of selfed embryos, perhaps obscuring the magnitude of geitonogamous selfing. Protandrous plants had a marginally higher female outcrossing rate than adichogamous plants, but similar seed set. More importantly, protandrous plants had, on average, a twofold siring advantage relative to adichogamous plants. However, this siring advantage did not increase linearly with inflorescence size, suggesting that protandry acts to enhance siring success, but not exclusively by reducing between-flower interference.
The effect of protandry on siring success in Chamerion angustifolium (Onagraceae) with different inflorescence sizes
Matthew Routley · 2006/01/04 · 2 minute read