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Ann Bot. 2010 Jan;105(1):7-22. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcp260.

The impact of plant and flower age on mating patterns.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, MSC03 2020, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA. marshall@unm.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Over a season, plant condition, amount of ongoing reproduction and biotic and abiotic environmental factors vary. As flowers age, flower condition and amount of pollen donated and received also vary. These internal and external changes are significant for fitness if they result in changes in reproduction and mating.

SCOPE:

Literature from several fields was reviewed to provide a picture of the changes that occur in plants and flowers that can affect mating over a season. As flowers age, both the entire flower and individual floral whorls show changes in appearance and function. Over a season, changes in mating often appear as alteration in seed production vs. pollen donation. In several species, older, unpollinated flowers are more likely to self. If flowers are receiving pollen, staying open longer may increase the number of mates. In wild radish, for which there is considerable information on seed paternity, older flowers produce fewer seeds and appear to discriminate less among pollen donors. Pollen donor performance can also be linked to maternal plant age. Different pollinators and mates are available across the season. Also in wild radish, maternal plants appear to exert the most control over paternity when they are of intermediate age.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although much is known about the characters of plants and flowers that can change over a season, there is less information on the effects of age on mating. Several studies document changes in self-pollination over time, but very few, other than those on wild radish, consider more subtle aspects of differential success of pollen donors over time.

PMID:
19875519
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2794063
Free PMC Article

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