, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 500–503 | Cite as

Deceptive pollination of Dactylorhiza incarnata: an experimental test of the magnet species hypothesis

  • Antti Lammi
  • Markku Kuitunen
Original Paper


Floral deception, which mainly appears in highly evolved families such as Orchidaceae, was studied in Central Finland. In nectarless Dactylorhiza incarnata, the deceptive pollination system has been considered to function best in remote habitats such as marshes, where flowering plants attractive to pollinators are rare (remote habitats hypothesis). In contrast, the magnet-species theory predicts that a nectarless plant benefits from growing in the vicinity of nectarcontaining species. We tested these hypotheses by adding attractive, nectar-containg violets (Viola x wittrockiana) to orchid populations. The percentage of fruit set in D. incarnata was adversely affected by the violets, probably because interspecific exploitation competition for pollinators took place in favour of the violas at the expense of the orchids. This result gave no support for the magnet-species theory and supported the remote habitats hypothesis.

Key words

Reproductive success Magnet-species theory Deceptive pollination system Nectarless orchids 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ackerman JD (1986) Mechanisms and evolution of food-deceptive pollination systems in orchids. Lindleyana 1: 108–113Google Scholar
  2. Dafni A (1983) Pollination of Orchis caspia-a nectarless plant species which deceives the pollinators of nectariferous species from other plant families. J Ecol 71: 467–474Google Scholar
  3. Dafni A (1984) Mimicry and deception in pollination. Annu Rev Ecol Syste 15: 259–278Google Scholar
  4. Dafni A, Woodell SRJ (1986) Stigmatic exudate and the pollination of Dactylorhiza fuchsii. Flora 178: 343–350Google Scholar
  5. Daumann E (1941) Dies anbohrbaren Gewebe und rudimentären Nektarien in der Blutenregion. Beih Bot Zentralbl 61: 12–82Google Scholar
  6. Firmage DH, Cole RF (1988) Reproductive success and inflorescence size of Calopogon tuberosa (Orchidaceae). Am J Bot 75: 1371–1377Google Scholar
  7. Free JB (1968) Dandelion as a competitor to fruit trees for bee visits. J Appl Ecol 5: 169–178Google Scholar
  8. Fritz A-L (1990) Deceit pollination of Orchis spitzelii (Orchidaceae) on the island of Gotland in the Baltic: a suboptimal system. Nord J Bot 9: 577–587Google Scholar
  9. Harder LD, Thomson JD (1989) Evolutionary option for maximizing pollen dispersal of animal-pollinated plants. Am Nat 133: 323–344Google Scholar
  10. Heinrich B (1975) Bee flowers: a hypothesis on flower variety and blooming times. Evolution 29: 325–334Google Scholar
  11. Heinrich B (1979) “Majoring” and “minoring” by foraging bumble-bees, Bombus vagans: an experimental analysis. Ecology 60: 245–255Google Scholar
  12. Heinrich B (1983) Insect foraging energetics. In: Jones CE, Little RJ (eds) Handbook of pollination biology. Van Nostrund Reinhold, New York, pp 187–248Google Scholar
  13. Kugler H (1935) Blutenökologische Untersuchungen mit Hummeln. VII. Die Anlocknung von “Neulingen” durch Bluten. Planta 23: 692–714Google Scholar
  14. Laverty TM (1992) Plant interaction for pollinator visits: a test of the magnet species effect. Oecologia 89: 502–508Google Scholar
  15. Laverty TM, Plowright RC (1988) Fruit and seed set in Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum): influence of intraspecific factors and local enhancement near Pedicularis canadansis. Can J Bot 66: 173–178Google Scholar
  16. Little RJ (1983) A review of floral deception mimicries with comments on floral mutualism. In: Jones CE, Little RJ (eds) Handbook of pollination biology. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, pp 294–309Google Scholar
  17. Nilsson LA (1980) The pollination ecology of Dactylorhiza sambucina (Orchidaceae). Bot Notiser 133: 367–385Google Scholar
  18. Nilsson LA (1981) Pollination ecology and evolutionary process in six species of orchids. Abstr Upps Diss Fac Sci 593Google Scholar
  19. Nilsson LA (1983) Mimesis of bellflower (Campanula) by the red helleborine orchid Cephalanthera rubra. Nature 305: 799–800Google Scholar
  20. Nilsson LA (1984) Anthecology of Orchis morio (Orchidaceae) at its outpost in the north. Nova Acta Regiae Soc Sci Ups C. 5. 3: 167–179Google Scholar
  21. Nilsson LA (1992) Orchid pollination biology. Trends Ecol Evol 7: 255–259Google Scholar
  22. Pellmyr O (1986) The pollination ecology of two nectarless Cimicifuga spp. (Ranunculaceae) in North America. Nord J Bot 6: 713–723Google Scholar
  23. Pleasants JM (1980) Competition for bumble-bee pollinators in Rocky Mountain plant communities. Ecology 61: 1446–1459Google Scholar
  24. Pleasants JM, Zimmerman M (1979) Patchiness in the dispersion of nectar resources: evidence for hot and cold spots. Oecologia 41: 283–288Google Scholar
  25. Rathcke B (1983) Competition and facilitation among plants for pollination. In: Real L (ed) Pollination biology. Academic Press, New York, pp 309–329Google Scholar
  26. Thomson JD (1978) Effect of stand composition on insect visitation in two-species mixtures of Hieracium. Am Midl Nat 100: 431–440Google Scholar
  27. Zimmerman M (1980) Reproduction in Polemonium: competition for pollinators. Ecology 61: 497–501Google Scholar
  28. Zimmerman M (1981a) Optimal foraging, plant density and the marginal value theorem. Oecologia 49: 148–153Google Scholar
  29. Zimmerman M (1981b) Patchiness in the dispersion of nectar resources: probable causes. Oecologia 49: 154–157Google Scholar
  30. Zimmerman M (1982a) The effect on nectar production on neigh-borhood-size. Oecologia 52: 104–108Google Scholar
  31. Zimmerman M (1982b) Optimal foraging: random movement by pollen collecting bumble-bees. Oecologia 53: 394–398Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti Lammi
    • 1
  • Markku Kuitunen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biolgical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

Personalised recommendations