Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 291–301

The evolutionary breakdown of distyly inLinum tenuifolium (Linaceae)

  • Marc S. Nicholls

DOI: 10.1007/BF00984203

Cite this article as:
Nicholls, M.S. Pl Syst Evol (1985) 150: 291. doi:10.1007/BF00984203


Distyly inLinum tenuifolium L. is associated with a high degree of self-incompatibility. Breakdown in this system has occurred without the morphological rearrangement expected as the result of cross-over within the distyly supergene. Pollen-flow in both distylous and monomorphic populations is leptokurtic. A high proportion of intra-flower pollination occurs. Pollen production per ovule is reduced in the self-compatible race. Mean seed-set is increased. Individuals of the self-compatible race produce less vegetative growth and require a shorter time to reach reproductive maturity under cultivation. Increased fecundity appears to provide the selective advantage promoting the breakdown of self-incompatibility in this species. This is achieved through a massive shift of resources toward female reproductive function in plants of the monomorphic race. Subsequent colonization by this race has led to its increased distribution in C. & S. Europe.

Key words

Angiosperms Linaceae Linum tenuifolium Breeding system heterostyly self-incompatibility pollen production seed-set colonization 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc S. Nicholls
    • 1
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentUniversity of ReadingWhiteknights, ReadingEngland, UK
  2. 2.Institut für Systematische BotanikUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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