Evidence for widespread pollen limitation of fruiting success in Cape wildflowers
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We used spot checks of stigmatic pollen deposition and hand-pollination experiments to test whether fruit production in Cape wildflower populations is limited by pollen availability. Natural levels of stigmatic pollen deposition were very low (median = 30.0% of flowers) in populations of 33 orchid species. We found similarly low levels of fruit set (median = 32% of flowers per plant) in six Orchidaceae and four Amaryllidaceae species. Experimental hand pollination at the whole plant level caused significant increases in fruit production in 11 of the 12 study populations. These results indicate that pollen limitation of fruit set may occur frequently among some plant families in the Cape flora.
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