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Patterns of pollen removal and deposition in tristylousPontederia cordataL. (Pontederiaceae)

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
  • Pollination
  • Tristyly
  • Pontederia Cordata
  • Bombus
  • Flowering
  • Pollen
  • Deposition


Abstract In tristylous Pontederia cordata (Pontederiaceae), conspicuous differences in the size of pollen grains and discrete variation in the length of reproductive organs provide a suitable experimental system for the study of fine-scale pollination events. At a population of P. cordata at Pothole Lake, Ontario, the majority of flowers are visited by bumble bees which remove on average 45% of the pollen during single visits to previously unvisited flowers. The amount and proportion of pollen removed are significantly different among floral morphs and stamen levels. Deposition of the three pollen types on the bodies of Bombus spp., Apis mellifera and Melissodes apicata is non-random: large- and medium-size pollen tends to remain in greatest concentrations where it is initially deposited, whereas small-size pollen is displaced from the proboscis to more posterior body parts, probably as a result of grooming activities. Stigmatic pollen loads of individual flowers following single bumble bee visits indicate that the mid-styled morph captures the largest total pollen load, and the short-styled morph the smallest. The largest proportion of compatible pollen grains is deposited on stigmas of the long-styled morph. Pollen load data from “single visit” flowers is in general agreement with previously published population surveys involving multiply-visited flowers.

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