, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 107–121 | Cite as

Pollinator availability as a determinant of flowering time in ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)

  • Nickolas M. Waser


Ocotillo, a perennial shrub of Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, produces its red tubular flowers in spring. This timing coincides with northward migration of hummingbirds through desert areas. Observations of visitors, pollen collections, and seed set reductions following exclusion of different flower visitors indicate that both hummingbirds and solitary bees pollinate ocotillo in southern Arizona. Seed sets of flowers on marked plants varied considerably within and between years, and this variation was related to the temporal match between flowering and hummingbird migration. This suggests that selection acts on plants to synchronize flowering with periods of pollinator abundance.


Migration Flowering Time Desert Area Flower Visitor Chihuahuan Desert 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bailey, H.P.: The climate of southern California. Berkeley: Univ. California Press 1966Google Scholar
  2. Barrows E.M.: Nectar robbing and pollination of Lantana camara (Verbenaceae). Biotropica 8, 132–135 (1976)Google Scholar
  3. Bent, A.C.: Life histories of North American cuckoos, goatsuckers, hummingbirds, and their allies, part II. U. S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 176, (1940)Google Scholar
  4. Darwin, C.: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. London: Murray 1876Google Scholar
  5. Evans, L.T.: Flower induction and the florigen concept. Ann Rev. Plant Physiol. 22, 365–394 (1971)Google Scholar
  6. Faegri, K., Pijl, L. van der: The principles of pollination ecology, second revised edition. Oxford: Pergamon Press 1971Google Scholar
  7. Grant, K.A., Grant, V.: Effects of hummingbird migration on plant speciation in the California flora. Evolution 21, 457–465 (1967)Google Scholar
  8. Grant, K.A., Grant, V.: Hummingbirds and their flowers. New York: Columbia Univ. Press 1968Google Scholar
  9. Grant, V.: The protection of the ovules in flowering plants. Evolution 4, 179–201 (1950)Google Scholar
  10. Grant, V.: The regulation of recombination in plants. Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. 23, 337–363 (1958)Google Scholar
  11. Grant, V., Grant, K.A.: Records of hummingbird pollination in the western American flora. I. Some California plant species. Aliso 6, 51–66 (1966)Google Scholar
  12. Grinnell, J., Miller, A.H.: The distribution of the birds of California. Pacific Coast Avifauna 27, 1–608 (1944)Google Scholar
  13. Hainsworth, F.R.: On the tongue of a hummingbird: its role in the rate and energetics of feeding. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 46A, 65–78 (1973)Google Scholar
  14. Hastings, J.R., Turner, R.M., Warren, D.K.: An atlas of some plant distributions in the Sonoran Desert. Univ. Ariz. Inst. Atmos. Phys. Tech. Rep. 21, 1–255 (1972)Google Scholar
  15. Heinrich, B.: Bee flowers: a hypothesis on flower variety and blooming times. Evolution 29, 325–334 (1975)Google Scholar
  16. Hendrickson, J.: An introduction to the Fouquieriaceae. Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 41, 97–105 (1969)Google Scholar
  17. Hendrickson, J.: A taxonomic revision of the Fouquieriaceae. Aliso 7, 439–537 (1972)Google Scholar
  18. Hiesey, W.M., Milner, H.W.: Physiology of ecological races and species. Ann. Rev. Plant. Physiol. 16, 203–216 (1965)Google Scholar
  19. Hurd, P.D.: The carpenter bees of California. Bull. Calif. Insect Survey 4, 35–65 (1955)Google Scholar
  20. Jackson, M.T.: Effects of microclimate on spring flowering phenology. Ecology 47, 407–415 (1966)Google Scholar
  21. Jaeger, E.C.: Desert wild flowers. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press 1941Google Scholar
  22. Kearney, T.H., Peebles, R.H.: Arizona flora. Berkeley: Univ. California Press 1960Google Scholar
  23. Koeman-Kwak, M.: The pollination of Pedicularis plaustris by nectar thieves (short-tongued bumblebees). Acta. Bot. Neer. 22, 608–615 (1973)Google Scholar
  24. Kucera, C.L.: Flowering variation in geographic selections of Eupatorium rugosum Houtt. Bull. Torrey bot. Club 85, 40–48 (1958)Google Scholar
  25. Levin, D.A., Anderson, W.W.: Competition for pollintors between simultaneously flowering species. Amer. Natur. 104, 455–467 (1970)Google Scholar
  26. Lyon, D.L., Chadek, C.: Exploitation of nectar resources by hummingbirds, bees (Bombus), and Diglossa baritula and its role in the evolution of Penstemon kunthii. Condor 73, 246–248 (1971)Google Scholar
  27. Macior, L.W.: Foraging behavior of Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in relation to Aquilegia pollination. Amer. J. Bot. 53, 302–309 (1966)Google Scholar
  28. McMinn, H.E.: An illustrated manual of California shrubs. San Francisco: J.W. Stacey 1939Google Scholar
  29. McNeilly, T., Antonovics, J.: Evolution in closely adjacent plant populations IV. Barriers to gene flow. Heredity 23, 205–218 (1968)Google Scholar
  30. Meidell, O.: Notes on the pollination of Melampyrum pratense and the “honeystealing” of humblebces and bees. Bergens Mus. Årb. 11, 5–11 (1944)Google Scholar
  31. Moore, D.M., Lewis, H.: The evolution of self-pollination in Clarkia xantiana. Evolution 19, 104–114 (1965)Google Scholar
  32. Müller, H.: On the fertilisation of flowers by insects and the reciprocal adaptations of both. Nature 8, 187–189; 205–206 (1873)Google Scholar
  33. Munz, P.A., Keck, D.D.: A California flora. Berkeley: Univ. California Press 1970Google Scholar
  34. Olmsted, C.E.: Growth and development in range grasses IV. Photoperiodic responses in twelve geographic strains of side-oats grama. Bot. Gazette 106, 46–74 (1944)Google Scholar
  35. Phillips, A.R., Marshall, J., Monson, G.: The birds of Arizona. Tucson: Univ. Arizona Press 1964Google Scholar
  36. Pijl, L. van der: Xylocopa and flowers in the tropics. Proc. Kon. Ned. Akad. Wet. C. 57, 413–424; 541–562 (1954)Google Scholar
  37. Pijl, L. van der: Ecological aspects of flower evolution. II. Zoophilous flower classes. Evolution 15, 44–59 (1961)Google Scholar
  38. Proctor, M., Yeo, P.: The pollination of flowers. New York: Taplinger 1972Google Scholar
  39. Raven, P.H.: Why are bird-visited flowers predominantly red? Evolution 26, 674 (1972)Google Scholar
  40. Ray, P.M., Alexander, W.E.: Photoperiodic adaptation to latitude in Xanthium strumarium. Amer. J. Bot 53, 806–816 (1966)Google Scholar
  41. Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S.: Birds of North America. New York: Golden Press 1966Google Scholar
  42. Robertson, C.: The philosophy of flower seasons, and the phaenological relations of the entomophilous flora and the anthophilous insect fauna. Amer. Natur. 29, 97–117 (1895)Google Scholar
  43. Sawamura, Y.: An autecological study of the photoperiodic response of the geographic strains of Polygonum thunbergii Siebold et Zuccarini. Jap. J. Bot. 19, 353–386 (1967)Google Scholar
  44. Sellers, W.D., Hill, R.H.: Arizona climate. Tucson: Univ. Arizona Press 1974Google Scholar
  45. Shreve, F.: The establishment of desert perennials. J. Ecol 5, 210–216 (1917)Google Scholar
  46. Shreve, F., Wiggins, I.L.: Vegetation and flora of the Sonoran Desert. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press 1964Google Scholar
  47. Simpson, B.B.: Breeding systems of dominant perennial plants of two disjunct warm desert ecosystems. Oecologia 27, 203–226 (1977)Google Scholar
  48. Snow, D.K.: A possible selective factor in the evolution of fruiting seasons in tropical forests. Oikos 15, 274–281 (1965)Google Scholar
  49. Sørensen, T.: Temperature relations and phenology of the northeast Greenland flowering plants. Medd. Grønland 125, 1–305 (1941)Google Scholar
  50. Waser, N.M.: Food supply and nest timing of broad-tailed hummingbirds in the Rocky Mountains. Condor 78, 133–135 (1976)Google Scholar
  51. Waser, N.M.: Competition for pollination and sequential flowering to two Colorado wildflowers. Ecology 59, 934–944 (1978)Google Scholar
  52. Waser, N.M.: Interspecific pollen transfer and competition between co-occurring plant species. Oecologia 36, 223–236 (1978b)Google Scholar
  53. Waser, N.M., Inouye, D.W.: Implications of recaptures of broad-tailed hummingbirds banded in Colorado. Auk 94, 393–395 (1977)Google Scholar
  54. Yang, T.W., Abe, Y.: Summary of qualitative phenology data. Saguaro National Monument East and West, Arizona, USA June to November, 1972. IBP Origin and structure of Ecosystems Technical Report 73-1 (1973a)Google Scholar
  55. Yang, T.W., Abe Y.: Summary of qualitative phenology data. Saguaro National Monument East and West, Arizona, USA November 1972–July 1973. IBP Origin and Structure of Ecosystems Technical Report 73-18 (1973b)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nickolas M. Waser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations