Original Paper


, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 500-503

Deceptive pollination of Dactylorhiza incarnata: an experimental test of the magnet species hypothesis

  • Antti LammiAffiliated withDepartment of Biolgical and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä
  • , Markku KuitunenAffiliated withDepartment of Biolgical and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

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Floral deception, which mainly appears in highly evolved families such as Orchidaceae, was studied in Central Finland. In nectarless Dactylorhiza incarnata, the deceptive pollination system has been considered to function best in remote habitats such as marshes, where flowering plants attractive to pollinators are rare (remote habitats hypothesis). In contrast, the magnet-species theory predicts that a nectarless plant benefits from growing in the vicinity of nectarcontaining species. We tested these hypotheses by adding attractive, nectar-containg violets (Viola x wittrockiana) to orchid populations. The percentage of fruit set in D. incarnata was adversely affected by the violets, probably because interspecific exploitation competition for pollinators took place in favour of the violas at the expense of the orchids. This result gave no support for the magnet-species theory and supported the remote habitats hypothesis.

Key words

Reproductive success Magnet-species theory Deceptive pollination system Nectarless orchids