13 November, 2019

Patterns of nectar production in Asclepias curassavica (Apocynaceae)

by Steven B. Broyles & Kiley Stoj

Nectar bubbling above the floral hood of tropical milkweed.
Milkweeds are important nectar sources for insect pollinators in the New World.  Milkweed nectar flows from stigmatic chambers, where pollen germinate, to the brightly coloured floral hoods.  We examined the timing and quantity of nectar production in the tropical milkweed, Asclepias currassavica, in a controlled greenhouse study.  Our results show that tropical milkweed secrets nectar during daylight hours in quantities that are attractive to diurnal insects and promote pollen germination.  In addition, tropical milkweed may respond to pollinator activity by increasing nectar production to flowers that receive insect visits.  Nectar production varies between individual plants and even between different inflorescences within plants.  Altogether, tropical milkweed is an easy to grow species that provides an abundant source of nectar to native insect pollinators in natural populations and gardens.

Read the scientific publication in JPE.