Skip to main content

Ovule pre-emption and pollen limitation in a self-fertile perennial herb (Blandfordia grandiflora, Liliaceae)

Abstract

The extent, frequency and causes of pollenlimited seed production were examined in partially selffertile populations of Blandfordia grandiflora for 2 years. Percentage seed set of open-pollinated plants (50–57%) did not differ within or between years, and was about 19% less than experimentally cross-pollinated plants (70–75%). Floral visits by honeybees did not differ through the flowering season and the number of pollen grains deposited on stigmas within 12 h of flowers opening exceeded the number of ovules per flower, indicating that the quality rather than the quantity of pollination limited seed set. Pollen limitation was caused by concurrent self- and cross-pollination and the subsequent abortion of some selfed ovules due to inbreeding depression. Natural seed set (55%) was intermediate between selfed (43%) and crossed (75%) flowers and was not increased when flowers that had been available to pollinators for 24 h were hand cross-pollinated, suggesting that ovules were already fertilized. Similarly, experimental pollination with both cross and self pollen within 24 h of flowers opening did not increase seed set relative to natural seed set, indicating that both cross- and self-fertilizations had occurred. In contrast, when selfing followed crossing by 48 h, or vice versa, seed set did not differ from crossed-only or selfed-only flowers, respectively, indicating that ovules were pre-empted by the first pollination. Collectively, these results indicate that under natural conditions self pollen pre-empts ovules, rendering them unavailable for cross-fertilization. This selfing reduces fecundity by 50%, as estimated from the natural production of cross seeds when selfing was prevented. Consequently, selection should favour floral traits, such as increased stigma-anther separation or protandry, that reduce interference between male and female functions that leads to selfing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Ackerman JD, Montalvo AM (1990) Short- and long-term limitations to fruit production in a tropical orchid. Ecology 71: 263–272

    Google Scholar 

  • Barrett SCH, Charlesworth D (1991) Effect of a change in the level of inbreeding on the genetic load. Nature 352: 522–524

    Google Scholar 

  • Bennington CC, Thayne WV (1994) Use and misuse of mixed model analysis of variance in ecological studies. Ecology 75: 717–722

    Google Scholar 

  • Broyles SB, Wyatt R (1993) The consequences of self-pollination in Asclepias exaltata, a self-incompatible milkweed. Am J Bot 80: 41–44

    Google Scholar 

  • Burd M (1994) Bateman's principle and plant reproduction: the role of pollen limitation in fruit and seed set. Bot Rev 60: 83–139

    Google Scholar 

  • Calvo RN (1993) Evolutionary demography of orchids: intensity and frequency of pollination and the cost of fruiting. Ecology 74: 1033–1042

    Google Scholar 

  • Campbell DR, Waser NM, Price MV (1994) Indirect selection of stigma position in Ipomopsis aggregata via a genetically correlated trait. Evolution 48: 55–68

    Google Scholar 

  • Charlesworth D, Charlesworth B (1987) Inbreeding depression and its evolutionary consequences. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 18: 237–268

    Google Scholar 

  • Cruzan MB, Barrett SCH (1993) Contribution of cryptic in compatibility to the mating system of Eichhornia paniculata (Pontederiaceae). Evolution 74: 925–934

    Google Scholar 

  • De Jong TJ, Waser NM, Price MV, Ring RM (1992) Plant size, geitonogamy and seed set in Ipomopsis aggregata. Oecologia 89: 310–315

    Google Scholar 

  • Epperson BK, Clegg MT (1987) First-pollination primacy and pollen selection in the morning glory, Ipomoea purpurea. Heredity 58: 5–14

    Google Scholar 

  • Galen C, Gregory T, Galloway LF (1989) Costs of self-pollination in a self-compatible plant, Polemonium viscosum. Am J Bot 76: 1675–1680

    Google Scholar 

  • Haig D, Westoby M (1988) On limits to seed production. Am Nat 131: 757–759

    Google Scholar 

  • Holtsford TP, Ellstand NC (1992) Genetic and environmental variation in floral traits affecting outcrossing rate in Clarkia tembloriensis (Onagraceae). Evolution 46: 216–225

    Google Scholar 

  • Horvitz CC, Schemske DW (1988) Demographic cost of reproduction in a neotropical herb: an experimental field study. Ecology 69: 1741–1745

    Google Scholar 

  • Jennersten O (1988) Pollination in Dianthus deltoides (Caryophyllaceae): effects of habitat fragmentation on visitation and seed set. Conserv Biol 2: 359–366

    Google Scholar 

  • Jennersten O (1991) Cost of reproduction in Viscaria vulgaris (Caryophyllaceae): a field experiment. Oikos 61: 197–204

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnston MO (1991) Pollen limitation of female reproduction in Lobelia cardinalis and L. siphitica. Ecology 72: 1500–1503

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnston MO (1993) Tests of two hypotheses concerning pollen competition in a self-compatible, long-styled species (Lobelia cardinalis: Lobeliaceae). Am J Bot 80: 1400–1406

    Google Scholar 

  • Karoly K (1992) Pollinator limitation in the facultatively autogamous annual, Lupinus nanus (Leguminosae). Am J Bot 79: 49–56

    Google Scholar 

  • Lawrence WS (1993) Resource and pollen limitation: plant size-dependent reproductive patterns in Physalis longifolia. Am Nat 141: 296–313

    Google Scholar 

  • Levin DA (1989) Inbreeding depression in partially self-fertilizing Phlox. Evolution 43: 1417–1423

    Google Scholar 

  • Lloyd DG (1992) Self- and cross-fertilization in plants. II. The selection of self-fertilization. Int J Plant Sci 153: 370–380

    Google Scholar 

  • Lloyd DG, Schoen DJ (1992) Self- and cross-fertilization in plants. I. Functional dimensions. Int J Plant Sci 153: 358–369

    Google Scholar 

  • Lloyd DG, Webb CJ (1986) The avoidance of interference between the presentation of pollen and stigmas in angiosperms. I. Dichogamy. NZ J Bot 24: 135–162

    Google Scholar 

  • Ockendon DJ, Currah L (1977) Self-pollen reduces the number of cross-pollen tubes in the styles of Brassica oleracea L. New Phytol 78: 675–680

    Google Scholar 

  • Primack RB, Hall P (1990) Costs of reproduction in the pink lady's slipper orchid: a four-year experimental study. Am Nat 136: 638–656

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsey M (1993) Floral morphology, biology and sex allocation in disjunct populations of Christmas bells (Blandfordia grandiflora, Liliaceae) with different breeding systems. Aust J Bot 41: 749–762

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsey M (1995) Causes and consequences of seasonal variation in pollen limitation of seed production in Blandfordia grandiflora (Liliaceae). Oikos 72: (in press)

  • Ramsey M, Prakash N, Cairns S (1993) Breeding systems of disjunct populations of Christmas bells (Blandfordia grandiflora R. Br., Liliaceae): variation in self-fertility and an ovular mechanism regulating self-fertilisation. Aust J Bot 41: 35–47

    Google Scholar 

  • Ramsey M, Cairns S, Vaughton G (1994) Geographic variation in morphological and reproductive characters of coastal and tableland populations of Blandfordia grandiflora, Liliaceae. Plant Syst Evol 192: 215–230

    Google Scholar 

  • Reekie EG, FA Bazzaz (1987) Reproductive effort in plants. 3. Effect of reproduction on vegetative activity. Am Nat 129: 907–919

    Google Scholar 

  • Schoen DJ (1982) The breeding system of Gilia achilleifolia: variation in floral characteristics and outerossing rate. Evolution 36: 352–360

    Google Scholar 

  • Seavy SR, Bawa KS (1986) Late-acting self-incompatibility in angiosperms. Bot Rev 52: 195–219

    Google Scholar 

  • Sih A, Baltus MS (1987) Patch size, pollinator behaviour, and pollinator limitation in catnip. Ecology: 68: 1679–1690

    Google Scholar 

  • Snow AA, Whigham DF (1989) Costs of flower and fruit production in Tipularia discolor (Orchidaceae). Ecology 70: 1286–1293

    Google Scholar 

  • Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry 2nd edn. Freeman, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Sutherland S (1987) Why hermaphroditic plants produce many more flowers than fruits: experimental tests with Agave mekelveyana. Evolution 41: 750–759

    Google Scholar 

  • Vaughton G (1991) Variation between years in pollen and nutrient limitation of fruit-set in Banksia spinulosa. J Ecol 79: 389–400

    Google Scholar 

  • Vaughton G, Ramsey M (1994) Pollinators and seed production. In: Kigel J, Galili G (eds) Seed development and germination. Dekker, New York, pp. 475–490

    Google Scholar 

  • Walsh NE, Charlesworth D (1992) Evolutionary interpretations of differences in pollen tube growth rates. Q Rev Biol 67: 19–37

    Google Scholar 

  • Waser NM, Price MV (1991) Reproductive costs of self-pollination in Ipomopsis aggregata (Polemoniaceae): are ovules usurped? Am J Bot 78: 1036–1043

    Google Scholar 

  • Webb CJ, Lloyd DG (1986) The avoidance of interference between the presentation of pollen and stigmas in angiosperms. II. Herkogamy. NZ J Bot 24: 135–162

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson P, Thomson JD, Stanton ML, Rigney LP (1994) Beyond floral Batemania: gender biases in selection for pollination success. Am Nat 143: 283–296

    Google Scholar 

  • Winer BJ, Brown DR, Michels KM (1991) Statistical principles in experimental design, 3rd edn. McGraw-Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Zimmerman M, Pyke GH (1988) Reproduction in Polemonium: assessing the factors limiting seed set. Am Nat 131: 723–738

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ramsey, M. Ovule pre-emption and pollen limitation in a self-fertile perennial herb (Blandfordia grandiflora, Liliaceae). Oecologia 103, 101–108 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00328430

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00328430

Key words

  • Self-pollination
  • Facilitated selfing
  • Ovule pre-emption
  • Pollen limitation
  • Blandfordia grandiflora