15 December, 2023

Effect of climate, anther morphology and pollination syndrome on pollen availability in Penstemon

 by Rodríguez-Peña & Wolfe

How plants make their pollen available is thought to be a function of the type and frequency of pollinators. However, evidence suggests that flower morphology and the environment can also influence pollen availability. Here, we evaluated the effect of climate, anther morphology, and pollination syndrome (whether the plant is bird or insect-pollinated) on anther dehiscence time (how long an anther takes to open). We recorded anther dehiscence time in twelve species of Penstemon. We also conducted an experiment to measure the effect of humidity and temperature on anther dehiscence. We found that anther morphology was correlated with anther dehiscence time. For example, anthers with wide openings took the longest time to dehiscence. These results provide some support for the hypothesis that anther dehiscence time has evolved to decrease pollen wastage. Previous research indicated that bird-pollinated species make all their pollen available soon after flowers open, but here we found that hummingbird-pollinated species took longer to open their anthers than most bee-pollinated species. The experiment showed that high humidity and low temperature make anthers take longer to open. Our results suggest that pollen presentation is influenced by anther morphology, pollination syndrome, and the physical environment.

Read the scientific publication in JPE

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