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Am J Bot. 2005 Mar;92(3):487-94. doi: 10.3732/ajb.92.3.487.

Pollen and resource limitation in a gynodioecious species.

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  • 1Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland;


Differences between plant sex morphs in pollen or resource availability may affect their relative fitness and thereby the sex ratio of dimorphic species. In gynodioecious species, in which hermaphroditic and female plants coexist, a variety of factors (e.g., hermaphrodite self-fertility or rarity or pollinator discrimination against females) might be expected to lead to stronger pollen limitation in females than in hermaphrodites. On the other hand, females have been found to be superior compared to hermaphrodites in low-nutrient conditions. The effects of supplemental hand-pollination and resource addition on the reproductive output of the self-fertile gynodioecious perennial Geranium sylvaticum (Geraniaceae) were tested for several populations that differ in their female frequency (4.4-23.0%). Both pollen and resource availability limited fruit set and the number of seeds produced per plant; however, seed set (i.e., the number of seeds produced per fruit) was limited only by resources. Because pollen limitation in females did not correlate with female frequency, our results suggest that pollen limitation in females does not depend on the frequency of the pollen-producing hermaphrodites. Furthermore, because pollen and resource availability limited reproductive output of both sex morphs, these factors may not contribute significantly to maintenance and evolution of gynodioecy in G. sylvaticum.

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