Journal Article

Early Blooming’s Challenges: Extended Flowering Season, Diverse Pollinator Assemblage and the Reproductive Success of Gynodioecious <i>Daphne laureola</i>

CONCHITA ALONSO

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 93, issue 1, pages 61-66
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mch004
Early Blooming’s Challenges: Extended Flowering Season, Diverse Pollinator Assemblage and the Reproductive Success of Gynodioecious Daphne laureola

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and aims The scarcity and unpredictability of active pollinators during late winter in temperate areas tends to favour extended flowering seasons and increased floral longevity in early blooming species, which are usually pollinated by diverse sets of insects. Daphne laureola is a gynodioecious woody perennial that flowers from January to April in southern Spain, a period characterized by cold temperatures, frequent rains and irregular snowfalls.

Methods Pollinators were excluded at four different times during the flowering season in order to determine the effect of decreased exposure to pollinators on fruit set in female and hermaphrodite individuals. The role of nocturnal and diurnal pollination on reproductive success in each gender was simultaneously evaluated by selective exclusion.

Key results A 50 % reduction in the flowering period decreased fruit set of females by 50 %, whereas the corresponding decrease in self‐compatible hermaphrodites was only approx. 25 %. Day‐active hymenopterans and lepidopterans were infrequent visitors, and nocturnal pollinators were inefficient, suggesting that pollen beetles, Meligethes elongatus, were the main pollinators of D. laureola in the study region.

Conclusions Beetles were less abundant in pollenless females, although discrimination did not apparently result in pollination limitation of female reproduction. A preference of beetles for sunny locations emphasized the relevance of abiotic conditions for pollination of this early blooming shrub.

Keywords: Key words:Daphne laureola, gynodioecy, Mediterranean, Nitidulidae, nocturnal pollination, plant reproductive system, Thymelaeaceae.

Journal Article.  4455 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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