Inversostyly: a new stylar polymorphism in an oil-secreting plant, Hemimeris racemosa (Scrophulariaceae).
ABSTRACT A new kind of stylar polymorphism, provisionally called inversostyly, is described. The polymorphism occurs in Hemimeris racemosa (Scrophulariaceae), a common annual herb of the Cape region of South Africa. Most populations are dimorphic for style orientation: the style alternates with the two stamens and is deflected either upwards or downwards. Thus, there is reciprocal placement of the style and stamens in a vertical plane in zygomorphic flowers. The flowers are symmetrical, and the floral parts do not vary in length. All flowers on a given plant are of the same stylar orientation. Pollination is by specialized oil-collecting bees (Rediviva spp.), which carry the pollen of the two morphs separately in discrete anterior or posterior locations on the underside of the body. Most inversostylous populations have a slightly higher proportion of the style-down morph, and this bias increases with decreasing pollinator abundance. In contrast with inversostylous populations, all individuals in homostylous populations of H. racemosa have the style and the stamens clustered together in the down position and high levels of autogamous seed set. Homostylous populations of H. racemosa, as well as the homostylous species Hemimeris sabulosa, occur where oil-collecting bees are less abundant.