, Volume 186, Issue 3-4, pp 123-134

Reproductive biology ofCistus ladanifer (Cistaceae)

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Abstract

The phenology, major floral characteristics, fruiting levels, and breeding system ofCistus ladanifer L. (Cistaceae), a common western Mediterranean shrub species, were studied in a southern Spanish population. The white, large (64 mm in diameter) flowers of this shrub appear during spring (March–May) and produce abundant pollen and nectar. In the year of study, flowers lasted up to three days, during which they were visited by a diverse array of insects including beetles, flies, and bees. Hand-pollinations revealed that flowers do not set any seed unless cross pollen is applied to the stigma. Microscopical observations indicate that self pollen tubes grow down the stigma but invariably fail to induce fruit maturation. At the plant level, all estimates of fecundity investigated (number of seeds per capsule, proportion of ovules developing into seed, and proportion of flowers setting fruit) were highly dependent on nearest neighbour distance, with isolated plants setting as little as 0% fruit. In contrast, plants within a clump often transformed into fruit as much as 90% of the flowers. At the population level, seed output was estimated to range between 3,000 and 270,000 seeds per plant during 1991.