Sexual Plant Reproduction 8:143-149 (1995)

The effectiveness of heterostyly in preventing illegitimate pollination in dish-shaped flowers.

T. Björkman

Department of Horticultural Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY, USA 14456

Summary. Heterostyly is thought to have evolved because it confers efficiency of cross-pollination. While it can be an alternative to an incompatibility mechanism in tube-shaped flowers, its effectiveness in dish-shaped flowers, such as those of Fagopyrum esculentum, has not been demonstrated. Stigmatic pollen loads were examined over the daily course of pollination in a planted field of this crop species. Natural pollination by bees resulted in 23% of the pollen on pin flowers and 69% on thrum flowers being legitimate. Both flower morphs therefore received of the two pollen types in about the same proportions. Pin pollen constituted 74% of the pollen delivered to stigmata, even though the two morphs are present in equal numbers. Pin flowers collected about 75 pollen, and thrum flowers about 25 pollen by the end of the day of anthesis. The net result was about 15 compatible pollen per flower on both floral morphs. These results indicate that heterostyly is associated with excess pin-pollen delivery rather than excess legitimate-pollen delivery in F. esculentum.

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