Intersexual flower differences in an andromonoecious species: small pollen-rich staminate flowers under resource limitation

K. Murakami, K. R. Katsuhara, A. Ushimaru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Andromonoecy, the presence of perfect and staminate flowers in the same individual, has evolved repeatedly in angiosperms. The staminate flowers are generally smaller than the perfect flowers in species that produce staminate flowers plastically when resources are limited. The smaller staminate flowers are expected to be less attractive to pollinators and have reduced size-matching with pollinators than perfect flowers. We hypothesized that these potential disadvantages of staminate versus perfect flowers facilitate the evolution of sex-specific floral morphology, such as allometric relationship between flower size and male reproductive organ. We compared six floral morphology traits, pollen production, pollinator visits and pollen removal from anthers between staminate and perfect flowers in several natural Commelina communis populations. Nectarless and zygomorphic C. communis flowers have polymorphic stamens with attracting, feeding and pollinating anthers and were visited by diverse pollinators. Staminate flowers were significantly smaller than perfect flowers, despite a large overlap in size between sexes. The lengths of pollinating stamens did not differ between staminate and perfect flowers, and staminate flowers produced significantly more pollen. We observed significantly more pollinator visits to perfect flowers than to staminate flowers. By contrast, pollen removal from pollinating stamens was significantly higher in staminate flowers than in perfect flowers. There is sexual dimorphism in flower morphology in C. communis. Staminate flowers with smaller attraction organs, similar pollinating stamens and higher pollen production assure higher pollen donor success relative to perfect flowers. Our results suggest that the morphological changes in staminate flowers enhance pollination success, even with limited resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Biology
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science

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