Section 60
Chapter 59,663

Effects of pollination intensity on Lesquerella fendleri seed set: variation among plants

Mitchell, R.J.

Oecologia 109(3): 382-388


ISSN/ISBN: 1432-1939
PMID: 28307535
DOI: 10.1007/s004420050097
Accession: 059662879

 The amount of pollen arriving on a flower can be an important determinant of seed production. I investigated the effect of varying pollen loads on seed set of the perennial desert mustard Lesquerella fendleri. To do this, I quantified the dose response relationship between stigmatic pollen load and seed set per fruit using over 400 flowers from 13 greenhouse-grown plants. Seed set per fruit generally increased with pollen up to about 100 pollen grains, then reached a plateau. A negative exponential regression of seed set on pollen load for the pooled data explained less than 10% of the observed variation in seeds per fruit. However, accounting for variation among individual plants in the dose-response relationship increased explained variation to 40%, indicating that plants responded differently to the same amount of available pollen. Plants varied little in the initial slope of the dose-response curve, but differed substantially in the asymptote, which ranged from 3 to 16 seeds. This limit is not imposed by ovule number, and may instead result from variation among plants in vigor, propensity to abort seeds, or in gender specialization. Such variation among plants in dose-response relationships has important consequences for understanding pollination limitation and pollen competition.

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