, Volume 12, Issue 8, pp 1741-1751

Pollination biology of the Chilean endemic orchid Chloraea lamellata

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Abstract

Chloraea lamellata Lindl. is one of the 50 taxa of terrestrial orchids occurring in Chile. In this paper we report the breeding system, phenology and pollinator activity in a population of the species located in the Province of Valdivia, X Región, Chile (39°28′ S). Chl. lamellata flowers from November to January, forming a lax spike with ca. 13 flowers. The floral life-span is 14 ± 4 days. The species is self-compatible. There was no statistical difference between the amount of seed produced after hand cross-pollination and hand self-pollination treatments. Neither direct autogamy nor agamospermy are involved in seed setting, thus pollinating agents are essential for the species' reproduction. Also, it has a high number of pollen grains (881733) and ovules (599833) per flower. The P/O ratio calculated is low (1.46). Probable pollinators belong to the orders Hymenoptera (Corynura chloris and Ruizantheda proxima) and Diptera (Sarcophagidae); these insects had a low visitation rate (0.00002 visits/spike/minute). The rate of pollination observed was low (28.6% flowers with pollinia deposited versus 71.3% flowers with pollinia removed). The reproductive features of Chl. lamellata suggest that the survival capability and long-term persistence of the species will be seriously threatened if the plant–pollinator interaction is disrupted.