Pollination can be a major factor influencing reproductive success in plants. Pollination may be influenced by variability in pollen production and vector activity associated with environmental heterogeneity in time and space. These factors were addressed experimentally using hand pollinations of Erica multiflora L., a shrub occurring in the western Mediterranean Basin that exhibits a long flowering period. Variation in pollen limitation was considered three times (early, peak, and late) over the flowering season and between two habitats (shrubland and pine forest). The breeding system and the pollination vectors were also studied by hand pollination and exclusion experiments. Xenogamy and natural pollination (control) treatments produced more seed and fruit set than geitonogamy and autogamy treatments. Insect visitors were less abundant at the end of the flowering period and in the pine forest habitat. Pollen limitation was not different between habitats, but it changed over the flowering period. Fruit set was pollen limited at the early flowering time, when less flowers were available. Both seed and fruit set were pollen limited at the late flowering time, when both flower density and insect visitors were lower. Seed and fruit set were not pollen limited at the peak of the flowering period, but their low values suggest resource limitation associated with large number of developing fruits.
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Botany|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 1999|
- Breeding system
- Fruit set
- Hand pollination
- Insect pollinator
- Seed production