Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 251, Issue 2, pp 119–129

Effects of local density and flower colour polymorphism on pollination and reproduction in the rewardless orchid Dactylorhiza sambucina (L.) Soò


DOI: 10.1007/s00606-004-0248-6

Cite this article as:
Pellegrino, G., Caimi, D., Noce, M. et al. Plant Syst. Evol. (2005) 251: 119. doi:10.1007/s00606-004-0248-6


The rewardless orchid Dactylorhiza sambucina shows a stable flower colour polymorphism, with both yellow- and red-flowered morphs growing sympatrically. Pollination biology and breeding system were investigated to examine the effects of density of plants, colour polymorphism, inflorescence dimension, and flower position within inflorescence on male and female reproductive success in three natural populations of D. sambucina. There were significant differences among sites in the number of pollinia removed and in fruit set per inflorescence. Number of removed pollinia and capsule production in D. sambucina were independent from flower and inflorescence size or flower position. As a whole, the red morphs showed the highest number of capsules produced, while the yellow morphs had the greatest male success. The relative male and female reproductive success were independent from plant density but were significantly correlated with the yellow morph frequency at the population level. Overall, our findings show that the contribution to the total reproductive success deriving from the two colour morphs does not conform with the predictions of negative frequency-dependent selection.


Breeding system Dactylorhiza sambucina capsule production negative frequency dependent selection pollinia removed plant size rewardless orchid 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Pellegrino
    • 1
  • D. Caimi
    • 1
  • M. E. Noce
    • 1
  • A. Musacchio
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di EcologiaUniversità della CalabriaArcavacata di Rende (CS)Italy

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