J Syst Evol ›› 2011, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (6): 539-545.doi: 10.1111/j.1759-6831.2011.00147.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Pollen limitation and variation in floral longevity in gynodioecious Potentilla tanacetifolia

1,2Hong YAO 1Yi-Bo LUO*   

  1. 1(State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China)
    2(Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China)
  • Received:2011-02-08 Online:2011-05-18 Published:2011-09-21

Abstract: Pollination limitation is common in flowering plants and is thought to be a factor driving the evolution of floral traits. The plasticity of floral longevity to pollination may be an adaptation of plants to pollen limitation. However, this adaptation is less critical in short-lived flowers. To evaluate pollen limitation and the plasticity of floral longevity to pollination in Potentilla tanacetifolia, a gynodioecious herb with short-lived flowers, we analyzed its breeding system, tested sex-differential pollen limitation, and compared variations in floral display size in natural populations in Duolun County, Inner Mongolia, China. Hand pollination experiments and pollinator exclusion treatments revealed that P. tanacetifolia is self-compatible and non-autonomously apomictic and shows sex-differential pollen limitation. The plasticity of floral longevity to pollination was observed; the floral duration of female plants was prolonged by approximately 3–4 hours with pollination exclusion treatment. Moreover, the percentage of flowers displayed on female plants during pollination exclusion treatment was significantly higher than that during natural pollination. Under natural pollination conditions, the percentage of flowers displayed on female plants was significantly higher than on hermaphrodite plants. Furthermore, approximately 50% of the pollen grains spread out of the anthers of hermaphrodite flowers within 2 h of anthesis; the number of pollen grains adhering to the stigmas of hermaphrodite flowers was significantly higher than that adhering to female flowers when flowers shed their petals. These results indicate that variation in floral longevity may be an adaptive strategy to pollination conditions for gynodioecious P. tanacetifolia.

Key words: floral longevity, gynodioecy, plasticity, pollen limitation, Potentilla tanacetifolia.

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