J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2009, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (10): 973-978.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00867.x

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Potential Autonomous Selfing in Gesneria citrina (Gesneriaceae), a Specialized Hummingbird Pollinated Species with Variable Expression of Herkogamy

Xin-Sheng Chen1*, Silvana Martén-Rodríguez2,3 , Qing-Jun Li1 and Charles B. Fenster1,2   

  1. 1Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, China
    2 Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
    3Herbario de la Universidad de Costa Rica, Escuela de Biología,Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica
  • Received:2009-02-25 Accepted:2009-07-06 Published:2009-08-26
  • About author:*Author for correspondence
    Present address: Dongting Lake Station for Wetland Ecosystem Research, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha, Hunan 410125, China Tel: +86 731 461 9739; Fax: +86 731 461 2685; E-mail: xschen@isa.ac.cn


Species with mixed mating systems often demonstrate variable expression of breeding system characteristics and thus represent the opportunity to understand the factors and mechanisms that promote both outcrossed and selfed seed production. Here, we investigate variation in levels of herkogamy (variation in stigma-anther separation distance) in a Puerto Rican population of hummingbird pollinated Gesneria citrina Urban. There is significant variation in herkogamy levels among individuals of this species and stigma anther separation is negatively associated with the ability to set fruits and seeds in the absence of pollinators. The variation in levels of herkogamy may represent a mechanism to ensure the production of some self-fertilized progeny in the absence of hummingbird pollinators. We also describe a novel breeding system in G. citrina, where stamens elongate over time to reach stigma height, but stamen elongation is accelerated by pollination. These results suggest that once the flowers are pollinated, stamen elongation may favor increased pollen removal and siring success, while the reduction in stigma-anther distance no longer imposes the risk of interference between male and female functions. We discuss our findings of breeding system variation in the context of pollination system evolution in an island setting (Antillean islands).

Chen XS, Martén-Rodríguez S, Li QJ, Fenster CB (2009). Potential autonomous selfing in Gesneria citrina (Gesneriaceae), a specialized hummingbird pollinated species with variable expression of herkogamy. J. Integr. Plant Biol. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00867.x.

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