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New Phytol. 2010 Oct;188(2):451-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03317.x. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

The role of volatile organic compounds, morphology and pigments of globeflowers in the attraction of their specific pollinating flies.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


• Floral scents and visual cues of the globeflower Trollius europaeus may play a key role in the attraction of Chiastocheta flies, involved in a highly specific nursery pollination mutualism. • Here, headspace collection and GC-MS were used to identify and quantify the volatile organic compounds emitted by the globeflower. • Scents are produced in three different floral parts by four structures: secretory glands and flat epidermis cells in the abaxial sepal epidermis, conical cells in the adaxial sepal epidermis, and pollen. The blend is made up of 16 compounds commonly found in floral scents. Geographical variation among populations is low compared with variation amongst individuals within populations. Electroantenno-graphic analyses revealed that six compounds emitted by both anthers and sepals are detected by Chiastocheta flies. Removing the anthers hidden inside the globe from flowers in the field decreased the number of fly visits to globeflowers. • A multivariate analysis of the effect of several floral traits on pollinator visitation rate conducted in the field showed that both floral scents and visual flower cues play a role in pollinator attraction. However, their relative roles and the intensity of the selective pressures exerted on floral traits by pollinators appear to vary in time and space.

© The Authors (2010). Journal compilation © New Phytologist Trust (2010).

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