Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Though dichogamy is generally interpreted as a means of preventing self-fertilization, the efficiency of this mechanism has been questioned. Little attention has been paid to functional aspects of male/female timing, such as variation over time in pollen germinability and in stigma receptivity. In the present study these aspects of male/female timing were investigated in the protandrous speciesSalvia verbenaca. To evaluate the effects of selfing, fruit set, total seed weight produced and seed/ovule ratio were also determined, (a) following artificial crossing, (b) following selfing (i.e. bagging) and (c) under natural conditions. Both pollen germinability and stigma receptivity peaked on the last day (day 3) of the flower's life, which presumably favours selfing. Neither fruit set nor seed/ovule ratio were significantly affected by pollination regime, but the total seed weight produced by artificially crossed plants was significantly higher than that produced by bagged or untreated plants. Neither fruit set, seed/ovule ratio nor total seed weight differed significantly between the two years of study. Thus, if aS. verbenaca flower receives outcrossing pollen it will produce a greater weight of seeds (with consequent advantages in terms of female reproductive success). However, the peaking of both pollen germinability and stigma receptivity on day 3 of the flower's life means that selfing is likely to occur if outcrossing pollen has not been received over the early part of the flower's life.
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