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Flower visitation, pollen deposition, and pollen-tube competition in Hibiscus moscheutos (Malvaceae)



Flower visitation, pollen deposition, and pollen-tube competition in Hibiscus moscheutos (Malvaceae)



American Journal of Botany 79(4): 428-433



The potential influence of pollen-tube competition on offspring "quality" has received considerable attention in recent years. Yet the prevalence of pollen competition in natural populations is largely unknown because few investigators have actually measured rates of pollen deposition on stigmas. In this study, we assess the potential for pollen-tube competition in natural populations of the self-compatible, pollinator-dependent herbaceous perennial, Hibiscus moscheutos. Individual flowers averaged two to four visits per 15 min by potential pollinators (Ptilothrix and Bombus), and about 34% of these visits involved contact with a stigma. The median number of pollen grains deposited on virgin stigmas per contact visit was 70 grains (values ranged from 0 to 889), and flowers averaged about four contact visits per hour. Approximately 360 pollen grains must reach stigmas for full seed set to occur in a typical flower (an average ovary has 139 ovules, and 2.6 pollen grains are required per seed). Within 2 and 3 hr exposure to pollinators, 65% and 97% of the flowers received excess pollen (> 360 grains) and median stigmatic pollen loads exceeded the number of ovules by a factor of 4.0 and 5.4, respectively. Based on 3 yr observations, it is concluded that pollen competition may frequently occur in this species.

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Accession: 002384743

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.2307/2445155



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