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Flowering seasonality and flower characteristics ofLoranthus acaciae Zucc. (Loranthaceae): Implications for advertisement and bird-pollination

Abstract

The flowering biology and pollination ecology ofLoranthus acaciae was studied at Hazeva in the northern Arava Valley in Israel. Flowers at anthesis had red anthers, a red stigma and a green corolla which turned red as a postfloral phenomenon. Their flowering period was approximately 10 months long (from mid-June until mid-April) during which time two main flowering patterns were distinguished. Some plants flowered twice a year, with separate summer and winter flowering periods; other plants flowered continuously, with two peaks, one in the summer and one in the winter. Several significant differences between summer and winter flowering and fruiting were found: (1) the summer flowering period was shorter than that of winter, (2) flowering synchrony between individual plants was lower in summer than in winter, (3) in summer the plants produced a larger proportion of female flowers, whereas in winter most of the plants produced a larger proportion of hermaphrodites, (4) in summer a limited number of plants produced smaller flowers while the majority produced normal-sized flowers, whereas in winter the entire population produced only normal-sized flowers, and (5) fruit set percentage was lower in summer than in winter.L. acaciae was found to be self-compatible, but, since it was not spontaneously self-pollinated, it showed high dependence on pollinator activity. In summer the flowers were visited by a wide spectrum of pollinators, both birds and insects, while in winter flowers were visited almost exclusively by the orange-tufted sunbird (Nectarinia osea osea, Nectariniidae). These seasonal changes in flowering characteristics and pollinator activity could explain why reproductive success is higher in winter than in summer.

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Correspondence to Yiftach Vaknin.

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Vaknin, Y., Tov, Y.Y. & Eisikowitch, D. Flowering seasonality and flower characteristics ofLoranthus acaciae Zucc. (Loranthaceae): Implications for advertisement and bird-pollination. Sexual Plant Reprod 9, 279–285 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02152703

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02152703

Key words

  • Loranthus acaciae
  • Nectarinia osea osea
  • Gynomonoecious
  • Male sterility
  • Self-compatible