Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 225, Issue 1–4, pp 103–118 | Cite as

Nectary structure of Labiatae in relation to their nectar secretion and characteristics in a Mediterranean shrub community — Does flowering time matter?

  • T. Petanidou
  • V. Goethals
  • E. Smets


We studied the interrelation between nectary structure (13 parameters), nectar characteristics (yield, chemical composition), and flower size of 11 Labiatae species in a Mediterranean shrub community near Athens, Greece. We also explored whether the above attributes are affected by the Mediterranean summer drought constraints. Our findings show that among all nectary parameters studied, nectary size and stomatal opening are the most important in (positively) shaping nectar secretion, nectary size being the most meaningful. Nectary structure is correlated to quantity of the nectar secreted, not its quality. Wide flowers bear wide nectaries with large stomatal openings, whereas deep flowers are not related to any nectary size. Corolla size (both length and width) and nectary stomatal opening decrease with flowering time. This applies also to nectary size, nectar volume and sugar content of the perennials (9 species). All above cases of time dependence show that there is a constraint effect of Mediterranean climate on floral and nectary structure, reflected also as a decrease in nectar secretion. Nectary structure in Labiatae is largely shaped by both phylogenetic and climate constraints. On the other hand, although nectar is largely influenced by nectary structure, it is to a large extent ecologically biased, implying that, in addition to phylogeny, there are many other ecological parameters interfering in its secretion such as time within the season, life history, and light requirements.

Key words

Ballota Lamium Phlomis Prasium Salvia Satureja Stachys Teucrium Thymus Modified stomata nectarostomata nectar composition flower size Mediterranean shrub community phrygana 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Petanidou
    • 1
  • V. Goethals
    • 2
  • E. Smets
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faonos and H. TrikoupiUniversity of the AegeanMytileneGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Botany and Microbiology, Laboratory of Plant SystematicsCatholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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