Autonomous pollination alleviates pollen limitation in the endemic Cienfuegosia yucatanensis Millsp. (Malvaceae)
Background: Self-compatibility is common on endemic plant species, but pollen limitation and self-pollination could be risk factors.
Study species: The endemic Cienfuegosia yucatanensis (Malvaceae), whose distribution is mainly restricted to the north coast of the peninsula of Yucatán, México.
Questions: a) Are flowers of C. yucatanensis autonomous for pollination? b) Are C. yucatanensis fruit or seed-set limited by pollen deposition? and, c) Is there evidence of early inbreeding depression in C. yucatanensis?
Study sites and dates: Two sites in the north of the peninsula of Yucatán in a seasonally dry scrubland, in the rainy season of 2013 and 2014.
Methods: Number of flowers and fruits were weekly recorded. Flowers were collected to count the number of conspecific pollen load and the number of pollen tubes. Autonomous pollination and pollen limitation were evaluated with a hand-pollination experiment. Inbreeding depression on fruit and seed production, and seed weight was evaluated.
Results: Flower and fruit production occur simultaneously and last from August to October. Conspecific pollen deposition on stigmas occurred through the whole flowering season and a maximum of pollen tubes was observed in August. Autonomous pollination treatment lead to similar fruit and seed production than cross-pollination, but open pollination produced significantly more seeds. No significant differences among self- and cross-pollination treatments on fruit and seed production or seed weight, were found.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that self-compatibility combined with a relatively efficient autonomous pollination, are suitable mechanisms for the reproductive assurance in C. yucatanensis, with no apparent effects of early inbreeding depression.
Departamento de Ecología Tropical, CCByA, UADY, México.
Dra. Conchita Alonso http://ebd06.ebd.csic.es/personal/cam/campersonal.html (https:///0000-0002-7418-3204)
Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC (EBD-CSIC), Sevilla, España.
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