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Ann Bot. 2007 Dec;100(6):1367-71. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

Is floral longevity influenced by reproductive costs and pollination success in Cohniella ascendens (Orchidaceae)?

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  • 1Departamento de Ecología Tropical, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Apartado Postal 4-116, Itzimná, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, México.



Although studies have shown that pollen addition and/or removal decreases floral longevity, less attention has been paid to the relationship between reproductive costs and floral longevity. In addition, the influence of reproductive costs on floral longevity responses to pollen addition and/or removal has not yet been evaluated. Here, the orchid Cohniella ascendens is used to answer the following questions. (a) Does experimental removal of flower buds in C. ascendens increase flower longevity? (b) Does pollen addition and/or removal decrease floral longevity, and does this response depend on plant reproductive resource status?


To study the effect of reproductive costs on floral longevity 21 plants were selected from which we removed 50 % of the developing flower buds on a marked inflorescence. Another 21 plants were not manipulated (controls). One month later, one of four flowers on each marked inflorescence received one of the following pollen manipulation treatments: control, pollinia removal, pollination without pollinia removal or pollination with pollinia removal. The response variable measured was the number of days each flower remained open (i.e. longevity).


The results showed significant flower bud removal and pollen manipulation effects on floral longevity; the interaction between these two factors was not significant. Flowers on inflorescences with previously removed flower buds remained open significantly longer than flowers on control inflorescences. On the other hand, pollinated flowers closed much faster than control and removed-pollinia flowers, the latter not closing significantly faster than control flowers, although this result was marginal.


The results emphasize the strong relationship between floral longevity and pollination in orchids, as well as the influence of reproductive costs on the former.

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