Journal Article

Anther Appendages of <i>Incarvillea</i> Trigger a Pollen-dispensing Mechanism

Yi Han, Can Dai, Chun-Feng Yang, Qing-Feng Wang and Timothy J. Motley

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 102, issue 3, pages 473-479
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Anther Appendages of Incarvillea Trigger a Pollen-dispensing Mechanism

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


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Background and Aims

Anther appendages play diverse roles in anther dehiscence and pollen dispersal. This study aims to explore the pollen-dispensing mechanism triggered by special anther appendages in Incarvillea arguta.


Field studies were conducted to record floral characteristics, pollinator visitations, and flower–pollinator interactions. Measurements of flowers and pollinators were analysed statistically. Pollen counts following a series of floral manipulations were used to evaluate pollen dispensing efficiency and function of the anther appendages.

Key Results

Field observations determined that two species of Bombus (bumble-bees) were the primary pollinators of I. arguta with a mean visiting frequency of 1·42 visitations per flower h−1. The results display a diminishing pollen dispensing pattern; the proportion of remaining pollen removed by pollinators decreased from 27 % to 10 % and 7 % in subsequent visits. Anther appendages act as a trigger mechanism to dispense pollen. The arrangement of the anthers and appendages function to control pollen load and timing. Mechanical stimulation experiments revealed that one set of appendages is only triggered by stimulation in the direction moving into the flower, while the other set is only triggered by stimulation in the opposite direction (exiting the flower).


The anther appendage is a pollen-dispensing trigger mechanism. The configuration of the stamens and duel trigger system has evolved to allocate pollen in allotments to enhance male function.

Keywords: Incarvillea arguta; anther appendage; pollination biology; Bignoniaceae; stamen morphology; pollen dispensing

Journal Article.  4881 words.  Illustrated.

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

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