Материал из Антэкология /// Anthecology
Floral and Pollination Biology of Three Sympatric Vaccinium (Ericaceae) Species in the Upper Ardennes, Belgium
Comparative studies of the reproductive biology and pollination ecology of closely related species allow us to test several ideas related to the evolution of selfing taxa from outcrossing ancestors. The existence of closely related species in the same habitat provides a particularly useful opportunity to examine this issue. A variety of floral traits likely to be associated with the reproductive system of three sympatric Vaccinium species (V. myrtillus, V. vitis-idaea, and V. uliginosum) were quantified in a heathland in the Upper Ardennes, Belgium. These traits included the length and width of the corolla, the number and size of the anthers, the number of pollen tetrads and ovules, and the length of the style. Pollen to ovule ratios suggest a mixed mating system in the three species. The greater pollen to ovule ratio and stigma–anther separation in V. vitis-idaea suggest that it functions more as an outcrosser than the two congeners. The effects of caging, emasculation, and artificial pollination on fruit and seed set differed among years and among the three species. Supplementary pollination increased fruit set and fruit characteristics (particularly seed number) relative to natural pollination in the three species. The three species showed a varied but poor capacity to self in the absence of pollinators. Seed set per fruit was lower in the spontaneously selfed flowers in comparison with hand-crossed pollinated flowers in V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea but not in V. uliginosum. This higher ability to self in V. uliginosum indicates a lower capacity to self in the absence of pollinators. However, all the three species were at least partially self-compatible. Together the floral traits and selfing ability suggest that the polyploid V. uliginosum appears to be more highly selfing than the two diploids, particularly V. vitis-idaea. Keywords: floral biology, mixed mating, mating system, Vaccinium, seed set.