Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 865–874 | Cite as

Essential dependence on wild pollination service: a medicinal plant under threat Minthostachys verticillata (Lamiaceae)

  • Evangelina Glinos
  • Eugenia Condat
  • Pablo Mulieri
  • Lorena AshworthEmail author
Original Paper


Minthostachys (Benth.) Spach (Lamiaceae) is one of the most important genus in Andean folk medicine. Minthostachys species are harvested in the wild rather than cultivated. Beyond the key socio-cultural role of these species, there have been no studies to evaluate their reproductive requirements as part of their conservation. M. verticillata is a gynodioecious species endemic from Argentina, whose populations are threatened because of overexploitation and habitat loss. The level of reproductive dependence on animal pollination, the diversity and composition of floral visitors’ assemblages, flower morphology, fruit and seed set and the progeny vigour of female and hermaphrodite plants were evaluated. Both sex morphs rely absolutely on animal pollination for seed production and were visited by a similar and diverse assemblage of insects (Diptera, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera); however, the tachinind fly Ptilodexia cf. cingulipes was the main pollinator. Female plants have smaller flowers, higher fruit set, fruits with more seeds, and a higher percentage of seed germination than hermaphrodites. There were no differences in growth rate and biomass of seedlings produced by female and hermaphrodite plants. Lower reproductive success of hermaphrodites could be due to self-incompatibility or inbreeding depression. These results suggest that it is a fragile system where hermaphrodite plants perform mainly as pollen donors, females as seed producers, and seed production relies almost exclusively on a native tachinid species, which is furthermore parasitoid. This knowledge can be applied in conservation programs in order to promote the sexual reproduction and so the conservation in situ of this key medicinal resource.


Minthostachys verticillata Functional dioecy Gynodioecy Reproductive dependence Sexual dimorphism Tachinid pollination service 



We are very grateful to Delia Susana Avalos and Moira Battan for identifying some Diptera specimens and to the authorities of La Quebrada and Los Manantiales nature reserves for allowing us to work there. We thank Ruben La Rossa and Marcela Gonzalez (INTA) for permitting the examination of Ptilodexia cf cingulipes type, and Marcelo Gritti for his technical assistance in editing the photographs. We would also like to thank María Pastor for her help with field work, Gabrielle McLellan for reviewing the English, and two anonymous reviewers and the Editor Dr. Heikki M. Hokkanen who improved the reading of the manuscript. E. Glinos holds a fellowship from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET, Argentina) and L. Ashworth and P. Mulieri are researchers from the same institution. This study was supported by a Grant from CONICET [PIP 00371] and Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo RED CYTED-SEPODI (417RT0527).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evangelina Glinos
    • 1
  • Eugenia Condat
    • 2
  • Pablo Mulieri
    • 3
  • Lorena Ashworth
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (CONICET – Universidad Nacional de Córdoba)CórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  3. 3.Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Laboratorio Nacional de Análisis y Síntesis EcológicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico

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