J Syst Evol ›› 2021, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (3): 557-566.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12554

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversification of floral orientation in Lonicera is associated with pollinator shift and flowering phenology

Gan-Ju Xiang1, You-Hao Guo1*, and Chun-Feng Yang2,3*   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
    2 CAS Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    3 Center of Conservation Biology, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2019-07-10 Accepted:2019-11-29 Online:2019-12-04 Published:2021-05-01

Abstract: Floral orientation has been suggested to be a functional floral trait that can enhance reproductive fitness through adaptation to both biotic factors (e.g., pollination) and abiotic factors (e.g., temperature). However, whether those factors drive the diversification of floral orientation needs to be explored through multiple related species. Phylogenetic relationships in Lonicera were identified by incorporating the species’ floral orientation (upward vs. downward) and pollinator types. Furthermore, transitions in floral orientation were evaluated together with pollinator shift, and seven Lonicera species were used to detect the influence of floral orientation on pollination and reproductive success. The relationship between temperature and the angle of floral orientation was investigated. Floral orientation in Lonicera showed that most of the closely related species within the same node displayed a similar pattern of floral orientation, and pollinator shift can lead to transitions between upward and downward orientation. Additionally, the angle of floral orientation increased with flowering phenology from spring to summer, and changing floral orientation significantly decreased pollination and seed production. Moreover, the average daily temperature during flowering phenology was significantly correlated with the angle of floral orientation. Our results indicate that pollinator shift could be an important event, leading to the diversification of floral orientation. Results of field investigations inferred that floral orientation should be a functional floral trait adapted to flowering phenology. Downward-facing flowers might help decrease heat loss to adapt to cold conditions. This study disentangled the influences of historical events and local adaptation on the evolution of floral orientation.

Key words: abiotic factor, floral orientation, flowering phenology, Lonicera, phylogeny, pollinator shift