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Am J Bot. 2001 Jun;88(6):1025-32.

Geographical variation in autonomous self-pollination levels unrelated to pollinator service in Helleborus foetidus (Ranunculaceae).

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  • 1Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, Apartado 1056, E-41080 Sevilla, Spain.

Abstract

Autonomous self-pollination may be considered as a mechanism enhancing plant reproductive success when plant access to pollen sources may limit seed production. We have studied the relationship between geographical patterns of variation in pollinator service to Helleborus foetidus and self-pollination ability in three widely spaced regions in the Iberian Peninsula. As could be expected from its early flowering period, pollinator visitation rates to both plants and flowers of H. foetidus were very low at all sites. Pollinator composition remained consistent among regions, but there was significant variation among regions in pollinator service. Despite the low visitation rates, fruit set did not appear to be pollen limited in any of the study areas, which may be explained by the long duration of flowers (up to 20 d). When pollinators were excluded experimentally, fruit set decreased significantly, but substantial levels of self-pollination occurred at all regions. Autonomous self-pollination levels were lowest in the two regions with lowest pollinator service and highest in the region with highest pollinator service. This disagreement between our results and the expectations derived from the reproductive assurance hypothesis may reflect a nonequilibrium situation of the northern H. foetidus populations in relation to their current pollinating environment.

PMID:
11410466
[PubMed]
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