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Am J Bot. 1998 Oct;85(10):1377-88.

Dioecy and the evolution of pollination systems inSchiedea and Alsinidendron (Caryophyllaceae:Alsinoideae) in the Hawaiian Islands.

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  • 1Department of Ecology andEvolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, California92697-2525.


The transition from biotic to wind pollination and the consequencesof this transition for the evolution of dioecious breeding systems wereinvestigated in Schiedea and Alsinidendron(Caryophyllaceae: Alsinoideae), genera endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The potential for wind pollination was studied for five species ofSchiedea using a wind tunnel. Morphological correlates of windpollination for these species were then used to infer the presence orabsence of wind pollination in the remaining Schiedea species. Hermaphroditic Alsinidendron and Schiedea species,which occur in mesic to wet forests, or less commonly in dry habitats,show little or no indication of wind pollination. These species had lowpollen:ovule ratios, large relative pollen size, diffuse inflorescences,substantial nectar production in several cases, and appear to bebiotically pollinated or autogamous. Sexually dimorphic species, whichall occur in dry habitats, are wind pollinated, based on wind tunnelresults or morphological adaptations indicating the potential for windpollination. These adaptations include high pollen:ovule ratios, smallpollen size, moderately to highly condensed inflorescences, and reducednectaries and nectar production. Shifts to wind pollination anddimorphism are strongly correlated in Schiedea, suggesting theclose functional relationship of the twophenomena.

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