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Am J Bot. 2006 Jul;93(7):1029-38. doi: 10.3732/ajb.93.7.1029.

Ancestral reconstruction of flower morphology and pollination systems in Schizanthus (Solanaceae).

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  • 1Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile;


Concerted changes in flower morphology and pollinators provide strong evidence on adaptive evolution. Schizanthus (Solanaceae) has zygomorphic flowers and consists of 12 species of annual or biennial herbs that are distributed mainly in Chile and characterized by bee-, hummingbird-, and moth-pollination syndromes. To infer whether flowers diversified in relation to pollinator shifts, we traced the evolutionary trajectory of flower traits and visitors onto a phylogeny based on sequence data from ITS, waxy, and trnF/ndhJ DNA. Maximum-likelihood ancestral reconstruction of floral traits suggests that ancestral Schizanthus had a bee-pollination syndrome. The hummingbird syndrome evolved in S. grahamii, a high elevation species in the Andes. The moth syndrome evolved in the ancestor of three species that inhabit the Atacama Desert. Results of mapping flower visitors onto the phylogeny show that the shift from bee to hummingbird pollination concurred with a shift in pollinators as predicted by the syndromes. However, the same pattern was not found for the moth syndrome. Visits by moths were observed only in one of the three moth-syndrome species, and at a very low rate. This mismatch suggests either anachronic floral characters or maintenance of rare, imperceptible moth pollination backed up by capacity for autonomous selfing. Overall, results suggest that diversification of flower traits in Schizanthus has occurred in relation to pollinator shifts.

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