J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2000, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (11): -.

• Research Articles •    

Sex Expression and the Evolutionary Advantages of Male Flowers in an Andromonoecious Species, Sagittaria guyanensis subsp. lappula (Alismataceae)

HUANG Shuang-Quan, SONG Ni, WANG Quan, TANG Lu-Lu, WANG Xiao-Fan   


Sex expression in Sagittaria guyanensis H.B.K. subsp. lappula (D. Don) Bojin is typically andromonoecious while the other species in the same genus are basically monoecious. The evolutionary advantages of male flowers and hermaphrodite flowers in S. guyanensis subsp. lappula were assessed by measuring sex allocation and pollen movements in two wild populations of the species. Two cultivated populations served as controls. The percentage of male flowers was very low in the two wild populations in Dongxiang, Jiangxi Province and Wuyishan, Fujian Province, viz., 2.48% and 0.96% respectively. In the two cultivated populations, male flower percentage significantly increased when the soil was of higher nutrient content. This indicates that the allocation to male versus female reproduction might change in response to environmental factors. Pollen production per male flower was 4.1 times higher than that of a hermaphrodite flower. The floral shape and size of male and hermaphrodite flowers were similar. No difference was observed between these dimorphological flowers in pollen germination rate in vitro and in the speed of pollen tube growth in vivo. Anthesis was only 4-5 h. Male flowers usually opened 0.5 h earlier than hermaphrodite flowers. An unexpected finding was that no pollen from the male flowers was found on the stigmas of the hermaphrodite flowers, in spite of the occasional visits by insects to both types of flowers in both wild and control populations. A consistent pattern of fruit development was found to exist in open pollinated flowers as well as in flowers that had been bagged. The sex ratios did not have significant influence on fruit set. Approximately 25% of the pistils in a gynoecium failed to develop into fruits because no pollen was deposited on them, indicating that the fruit set of this andromonoecious plant is mainly affected by pollen limitation rather than resource limitation. Reproduction in S. guyanensis subsp. lappula in the habitats was dependent on self-pollination in hermaphrodite flowers. The male flowers in this species might be a potential source of additional pollination and may facilitate cross-pollination. The fact that the flowers of monoecious species in Sagittaria pollinated by a wide diversity of insect visitors may contribute enormously to the diversification of sex expression in this genus.

Key words: Sagittaria guyanensis subsp. lappula, sex expression, andromonoecy, evolution

Editorial Office, Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, Institute of Botany, CAS
No. 20 Nanxincun, Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China
Tel: +86 10 6283 6133 Fax: +86 10 8259 2636 E-mail: jipb@ibcas.ac.cn
Copyright © 2022 by the Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Online ISSN: 1744-7909 Print ISSN: 1672-9072 CN: 11-5067/Q