Article: article from journal or magazin.
Diplostigmaty in plants: a novel mechanism that provides reproductive assurance.
Differentiation of female sexual organs in flowering plants is rare and contrasts with the wide range of male reproductive strategies. An unusual example involves diplostigmaty, the possession of spatially and temporally distinct stigmas in Sebaea (Gentianaceae). Here, the single pistil within a flower has an apical stigma, as occurs in most flowering plants, but also a secondary stigma that occurs midway down the style, which is physically discrete and receptive several days after the apical stigma. We examined the function of diplostigmaty in Sebaea aurea, an insect-pollinated species of the Western Cape of South Africa. Floral manipulations and measurements of fertility and mating patterns provided evidence that basal stigmas function to enable autonomous delayed self-pollination, without limiting opportunities for outcrossing and thus avoiding the costs of seed discounting. We suggest that delayed selfing serves as a mechanism of reproductive assurance in populations with low plant density. The possession of dimorphic stigma function provides a novel example of a flexible mixed-mating strategy in plants that is responsive to changing demographic conditions.
Animals, Gentianaceae/physiology, Insects/physiology, Pollination, Reproduction, South Africa
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