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Pollination and seed production in Xerophyllum tenax (Melanthiaceae) in the Cascade Range of Central Oregon


Abstract and Figures

Xerophyllum tenax is a mass-flowering, nectarless herb in which self-pollination is unavoidable as anthers shed pollen onto the three, receptive stigmatic ridges attached to each pistil within a few hours after expansion of the perianth. We compared the pollination system with reproductive success in this species through controlled, hand-pollination experiments. Ovaries of flowers sampled from unbagged inflorescences were visited by pollen-eating flies (primarily members of the family Syrphidae), beetles (primarily Cosmosalia and Epicauta spp.), and small bees, and produced normal-sized capsules and mature seeds. Ovaries of flowers from inflorescences bagged to prevent insect pollination produced small capsules containing undeveloped or no seeds. Epifluorescence analyses suggest that 0.95 of the uncovered flowers are cross-pollinated by insects with pollen tubes penetrating style and ovary tissue. Flowers show a "leaky" but early-acting self-incompatibility system. While hundreds of pollen tubes germinate on each stigmatic surface following self-pollination, few pollen tubes penetrate the stigmatic surface and none penetrate the ovary. In contrast, when stigmas are cross-pollinated by hand with pollen from a second inflorescence pollen tubes were seen penetrating style and ovary. Self-incompatibility in X. tenax parallels that of some species of Trillium, a sister genus within the Melanthiaceae.
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American Journal of Botany 91(12): 2060–2068. 2004.
C. V
M. E
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon 97331 USA;
Department of
Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri 63103 USA; and
Department of Educational Studies, Saint Louis University,
St. Louis, Missouri 63103 USA
Xerophyllum tenax is a mass-flowering, nectarless herb in which self-pollination is unavoidable as anthers shed pollen onto the
three, receptive stigmatic ridges attached to each pistil within a few hours after expansion of the perianth. We compared the pollination
system with reproductive success in this species through controlled, hand-pollination experiments. Ovaries of flowers sampled from
unbagged inflorescences were visited by pollen-eating flies (primarily members of the family Syrphidae), beetles (primarilyCosmosalia
and Epicauta spp.), and small bees, and produced normal-sized capsules and mature seeds. Ovaries of flowers from inflorescences
bagged to prevent insect pollination produced small capsules containing undeveloped or no seeds. Epifluorescence analyses suggest
that 0.95 of the uncovered flowers are cross-pollinated by insects with pollen tubes penetrating style and ovary tissue. Flowers show
a ‘‘leaky’’ but early-acting self-incompatibility system. While hundreds of pollen tubes germinate on each stigmatic surface following
self-pollination, few pollen tubes penetrate the stigmatic surface and none penetrate the ovary. In contrast, when stigmas are cross-
pollinated by hand with pollen from a second inflorescence pollen tubes were seen penetrating style and ovary. Self-incompatibility
in X. tenax parallels that of some species of Trillium, a sister genus within the Melanthiaceae.
Key words: beargrass; Melanthiaceae; pollen; pollination; seed production; self-incompatibility; Xerophyllum tenax.
Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh.) Nutt. is an evergreen perennial
monocot of montane forests in the Pacific Northwest with long
fibrous leaves. In openings the long-lived plants often grow
large with multiple shoots of which one or two may produce
an inflorescence. The species is not only a significant com-
ponent of subalpine ecosystems, it is of cultural and commer-
cial importance in the region (Lobb, 1990). Although forest
management practices as well as extensive commercialharvest
may be affecting the species’ reproduction, growth, and sur-
vival (Dimock, 1981; Mosley, 2000), little knowledge exists
of its reproductive ecology (Bradley, 1984). While the floral
phenology and flowering pattern of its inflorescence have been
described (Long, 1981; Utech, 1978; Maule, 1959) its polli-
nation ecology, self-isolation mechanisms (sensu Bernhardt
and Thien, 1987), and rates of fruit and seed set remain largely
Xerophyllum tenax (beargrass or Indian basket grass) is of
cultural and economic importance in northwestern North
America (Vance et al., 2001). To Native American basket
weavers of California and the Pacific Northwest, X. tenax his-
torically was and continues to be a valued plant (Turner, 1998;
Rentz, 2003). Leaves are carefully selected, gathered and dyed
for use in basketry (Lobb, 1990; Moerman, 1998). Burning
off areas where beargrass grows continues to be a traditional
practice used to produce the pliable and less pigmented leaves
preferred for basketry (Rentz, 2003). The management and
Manuscript received 8 January 2004; revision accepted 26 August 2004.
The authors thank Dan Mikowski for his field support, Patrick Vogan for
his technical lab work, John Meyers for his pen and ink illustration, Tammy
Sage for confirming early crossing experiments, Landi Mendoza for her work
on the data, and the USDA Forest Service Willamette National Forest for
providing the sites for the research. This research was supported in part by
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station contract 43-0453-
Author for correspondence (Tel: 541 750-7302; Fax: 541 750-7329;
protection of these resources are supported by the USDA For-
est Service on lands under their jurisdiction (Vance et al.,
2001). In recent years beargrass leaves have grown in com-
mercial value and are harvested for the floral industry. These
leaves are sold to processors for export as raw material to
Asian and European markets for dried floral crafts and deco-
rations. The market potential has been estimated for thousands
of tons of leaves at over $US 1 million (Blatner and Schlosser,
1998). Illegal harvest has been extensive and damaging as
flowering shoots are often destroyed. In one year over 100
tons of illegally harvested leaves were confiscated from the
Willamette National Forest (Mosley, 2000). Interpreting the
floral biology of X. tenax is necessary to understand its con-
servation and to develop appropriate management of this spe-
Furthermore molecular analyses have changed the morpho-
logically based interpretation of the phylogeny of the mono-
cotyledons in general and Xerophyllum and its allied genera
in particular. Rudall et al. (2000) maintain Xerophyllum within
the Liliales but their strict consensus tree now places this ge-
nus within the family Melanthiaceae. Genera placed within the
Melanthiaceae s.s. are synapomorphic for dorsal composite
vascular bundles in their flowers, a pollen grain with an oper-
culate sulcus and the presence of Veratrum-type alkaloids.
However, while Xerophyllum spp. bear many small, whitish
flowers on a much elongated, racemose-paniculate inflores-
cence, this genus is not a sister of Veratrum and Zigadenus
with similar modes of floral presentation. Instead, Xerophyllum
is a sister genus of Paris and Trillium. In these two genera the
short flowering shoot usually terminates in a large but solitary
and often sessile flower. Recent work by Sage et al. (2000)
has also found an early acting, stigmatic self-incompatibility
in Trillium spp. This self-incompatibility mechanism is rare in
the monocotyledons in general and is currently restricted to
lineages in only four other families. Consequently additional
December 2004] 2061V
work on the floral biology of Xerophyllum is also required to
compare phenotypic characters between this taxon and its sis-
ter genera to determine the divergence of pollination mecha-
nisms and breeding systems within this lineage.
Study speciesXerophyllum tenax (Melanthiaceae) is a perennial, acaules-
cent, monocot that grows in cool, coniferous forest communities in the sub-
alpine zone of northwestern North America. In the western hemlock zone of
the Cascade Mountains it is often a dominant component of the understory.
There it grows on rocky shallow soils in association with hemlock and true
firs where the forb layer may often be depauperate (Franklin and Dyrness,
1973). Xerophyllum tenax consists of a short rhizome and tightly connected
shoots. Each vegetative shoot of X. tenax arises from a basal meristem, pro-
ducing grass-like, keeled, rigid leaves with a life span of several years (Brad-
ley, 1984). In openings the long-lived plants may become large with multiple
shoots of which one or two may produce an inflorescence. The onset or length
of flowering at different locations varies with differences in seasonal temper-
atures, aspect, and elevation (Long, 1981). In the Oregon Cascades flowering
may be initiated as early as April and continue into August. Flowering is
often most prevalent in plants growing in forest openings created by distur-
bance such as wildfire; however, flowering becomes less frequent and may
disappear altogether as the forest canopy recloses (Maule, 1959; Simpson,
Floral morphology—The inflorescense is a mass-flowering terminal raceme
of small, white to cream-colored flowers on pedicels 2–5 cm long maturing
successively from the bottom to the top (Maule, 1959). The flowering phase
is initiated when an inflorescence elongates on an axis that may extend as
high as 15 dm. The lower flowers have distinctive bracts that become reduced
in length and adnate to the pedicels of the upper flowers. The flower pedicels
become elongate and erect at maturity, so that midway through the flowering
season, the raceme appears as a conical or cylindrical cluster of opened flow-
ers topped by unopened floral buds. Each flower consists of six oblong to
ovate tepals without basal glands. We detected a distinct odor (see Floral
attractants and rewards under RESULTS) when the majority of the flowers in
the raceme were open. The gynoecium is tricarpellate with three free, recurved
styles. The carpels are unilocular, each carpel having a maximum of four
ovules (Utech, 1978). The capsule is ovoid, acute, and about 5–7 mm long
and it undergoes loculicidal dehiscence when seeds mature in late summer.
After the capsule dehisces and seed has been released, the shoot senesces
(Hitchcock and Cronquist, 1978; Utech, 1978).
Study sites and design—Two similar but geographically separated sites
were selected for the experimental pollination study series and for the obser-
vation/collection of insect pollinators. A third site not used for experimenta-
tion was used only to collect pollinating insects. These three sites are in the
central Cascade Range of Oregon on the USDA Forest Service, Willamette
National Forest. The plant association at these sites is Abies amabilis/Rho-
dodendron macrocarpum/Xerophyllum tenax. At all sites flowering occurs
usually from late May through early July. The first experimental study site,
at about 1020 m elevation, is on a shallow slope of the Hackleman Creek
drainage within 100 m of the road. The coniferous stand had been logged on
part of the site in the early 1990s and trees were scattered in clumps on grassy
openings. The second experimental site is situated on a shallow slope of Camp
Creek drainage at about 1120 m elevation and also logged in the early 1990s.
Removal of a part of the overstory at both sites created sufficiently large
openings that favored X. tenax flowering. These two sites were about 13 km
apart in order to ensure that separate populations were being sampled. The
third site, used exclusively for insect collection, was Browder Ridge at about
1350 m elevation where the coniferous overstory was also removed in the
early 1990s.
The controlled pollination study was carried out on the two widely sepa-
rated sites noted above. Four treatments were applied to 24 independent plants
selected at each site and randomly assigned. Treatment descriptions follow.
(1) Self: stigmas of tagged flowers on re-bagged inflorescences received no
additional pollen. (2) Open: stigmas of tagged flowers that opened that morn-
ing on unbagged inflorescences were exposed to insect pollinators for 24 h.
(3) Short-distance hand cross-pollination (SDP): stigmas of bagged inflores-
cences received pollen from a solitary inflorescence of a neighboring plant
within the same population. (4) Long-distance hand cross-pollination (LDP):
stigmas of bagged inflorescences received pollen from a solitary inflorescence
of a plant from a disjunctive population at the other site (13 km).
Insect identification and observations of floral development and scent oc-
curred during two flowering seasons from 2001 through 2002. The hand cross-
and self-pollination study occurred during flowering season of 2002. Micro-
graphs were taken from collections made in 2001 and 2002.
Flower and floral forager observations—Individual flowers on inflores-
cences were labeled with jeweler’s tags and observed while wearing optical
glass magnifiers (Opti Visor). Insect foraging behavior was recorded for 2 d
in early July 2000, and 3 d in late June 2001 and 2002, representing approx-
imately 22 h of observation. Optical glass magnifiers made it possible for the
observer to note whether the forager contacted the stigmas and the anthers
while foraging.
To determine whether visitors carried significant quantities of pollen of X.
tenax (.25 grains/insect) insects observed foraging on flowers and/or manip-
ulating floral organs with their legs or mouth parts were collected in butterfly
nets and killed in jars poisoned with fumes of ethyl acetate on each obser-
vation day. Removal, staining, mounting, identification, counting and record-
ing of individual pollen grains carried on insect bodies followed Bernhardt
and Weston (1996). We used Calberla’s fluid (Ogden et al., 1974) to stain the
exine of the pollen walls with basic fuchsin. Insect body length was recorded
by measuring the body from its labrum to the apex of the abdomen prior to
pinning. Pinned specimens were sent for identification and vouchers were
deposited in respective collections: Coleoptera (J. Chemsak, Division of Insect
Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA), Diptera (F. C.
Thompson, Entomology Division, Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., USA) and
Hymenoptera (C. D. Michener; Snow Entomological Museum, Kansas State
University, Lawrence, Kansas, USA).
Pollination experiments—Twenty-four flowering plants were randomly as-
signed to the Open, Self, short-distance cross-pollination (SDP), and long-
distance hand cross-pollination (LDP) treatments at each site in late May–
early June 2002. For all treatments except the Open treatment, an inflores-
cence on each plant was isolated in a nylon mesh bag before the flower buds
For determining natural rates of successful pollination Open-treated (un-
bagged) flowers (each sampled within 24 h of anthesis) were collected from
inflorescences at both experimental sites every second day over a 10-d period
during mid-June (at peak flowering). For the Self, SDP, and LDP treatments,
bags were removed every day and 3–6 flowers were sampled from each in-
florescence on their first day of anthesis, hand-pollinated and then labeled
with jeweler’s tags. Hand-pollinations were made at this time with the aid of
an optical glass binocular magnifier, but pollen was applied to the stigmatic
surfaces until it was visible to the naked eye. These treatments required re-
bagging the inflorescence for an additional 24 h prior to harvesting, fixing,
and preserving whole flowers. Pollination success was determined by the
numbers of pollen tubes in pistils that penetrated the micropyles of ovules.
All flowers were too small to emasculate prior to hand-pollination so the SDP
and LDP treatments represent ‘‘cross-pollen enhancements’’ as in Lipow et
al. (2002).
Collected flowers were fixed ina3:1glacial acetic acid : 95% ethanol
solution for 2 h before decanting the fixative and storing flowers in 70%
ethanol. Individual flowers were softened in a 5% aqueous solution of sodium
sulphite at room temperature for 24 h. Each pistil was then excised and taken
through three consecutive baths of distilled water. Each washed pistil was
placed on its own glass slide, the styles were teased apart with forceps or
dissecting probes, and then the entire organ was spread and squashed in 2–3
drops of decolorized aniline blue, labeled, and refrigerated a minimum of 7
d. To view pollen tubes in the pistil under epifluorescence we used a Carl
2062 [Vol. 91A
Fig. 1. Illustration shows Xerophyllum tenax styles as they move from upright (A) to the fully recurved (C) position exposing the stigmatic ridges to insects
as the pistil ages. The stigmatic ridges are outlined with dark stippling.
Zeiss Incident Fluorescence Microscope with a violet exciter filter as in Bern-
hardt et al. (1980). Viewing techniques and micrography followed Goldblatt
and Bernhardt (1990).
To determine the number of germinated pollen grains thathad grown pollen
tubes two pollen tube counts were taken for each pistil. Because the ovary of
each pistil bears three separate styles, the number of pollen tubes observed
to penetrate the transmission tissue in each style was counted. The total counts
from each style were pooled and pollen tubes per style calculated. The number
of pollen tubes penetrating ovary tissue was similarly determined and record-
ed separately.
Open-pollination vs. self-pollination effects on seed set—Bagged stalks
bearing infructescences that received no cross-pollination and stalks with
open-pollinated flowers were collected in August when capsules were fully
developed but had not yet dehisced. At this stage the capsules were suffi-
ciently mature to dissect each ovary to see if they contained seeds. In the
laboratory, each infructescence of 11 flowering stalks from the Camp Creek
site (the covering of one infructescence was too damaged to use in analysis)
and 12 from the Hackleman Creek site were measured to the nearest milli-
meter and divided into three equal sections. Sampled capsules were dissected,
and ovules were observed under a dissecting microscope. The basal, medial,
and axial portions were analyzed separately to determine the phenology of
flowering in which the flowers basally located on the inflorescence reached
anthesis earlier than the axial flowers. The number of flowers was inferred
based on counting each pedicel and bract. The capsules were also counted so
that ratio of capsules to flowers could be determined. In each (basal, medial,
and axial) section of the infructescence, 20 capsules were randomly selected
and the length of each measured to the nearest millimeter; seeds were ex-
tracted, counted, and the length determined to the nearest millimeter. Total
number of seeds and average number of seeds per capsule were determined
for the capsules collected from each infructescence of the bagged and
unbagged flowering stalks.
Statistical analysis—Tests were conducted using Statgraphics Plus statis-
tical software version 5.1. (Manugistics, 2000). The pollen tube data were
tested for equal variances and distribution departures from normality (Kol-
mogorov-Smirnov [KS] test for goodness of fit). The Student’s ttest and KS-
test Dstatistic were used on the pollen tube data to determine significant
differences among treatments without assumptions of equal variances. For the
seed set analysis, potential site differences were assessed in a two-way anal-
ysis of variance (ANOVA); we found no significant differences in the vari-
ables tested. Because there were no interactions, each site was treated sepa-
rately. Significant differences in means were assessed by Tukey’s Honestly
Significant Difference (HSD). Levene’s test of variance was used. Where pa-
rameters were not met for the test of variance, the nonparametric Kruskal
Wallis test was used. Regression analysis was used to relate capsule length
to number of filled seed.
Inflorescence and floral presentation—Inflorescences have
a gradient in development at anthesis so that the terminal flow-
er buds opening at the end of the season either produced un-
dersized, malformed flowers or never opened at all (open de-
velopment). Because perianths on different flowers typically
overlapped and their stiff, erect, elongated stamens were al-
ways held well above the shallow, salverform perianths, the
entire inflorescence had an unusually dense, brush-like ap-
As the perianth expanded in an opening bud, 1–2 of the six
anthers were dehiscent, while the three, often appressed, styles
curve upwards in suberect positions (Fig. 1A). Within the next
two-four hours all remaining anthers dehisced and the style
arms began to curve downwards (Fig. 1B). The receptive stig-
matic surface on each of the three styles ran from the blunted
tip of the style down to its base where the style ‘‘arm’’ con-
nected to the top of the ovary forming a narrow ridge. As the
pistil aged each style arm coiled, beginning at the tip, exposing
a now upwardly curved segment of the stigmatic surface while
concealing more terminal portions of the stigmatic surface
within the coil (Fig. 1C). While an individual flower’s recep-
tivity is measured in days, each inflorescence may bear from
150 to 400 flowers. Anthesis occurs successively along the
December 2004] 2063V
1. Pollen load analyses of insects collected on flowers of Xe-
rophyllum tenax.
Insect taxon
Pollen load
X. tenax only X. tenax
species No pollen
Anastrangalia laetifica
Cosmosalia chrysocoma
Leptaura propinqua
Trichodes ornatus 230
Epicauta sp. 12 0 1
Dichelonyx backi
Diplotaxis sp. 2
Subtotals 38 11 1
Eulonchus sp. 1 0 0
Laphria sp. 0 0 1
Conophorus sp. 1 0 0
Calliphora vomitoria 100
Tachina sp. 0 1 0
Cheilosia hoodiana
Chrysotoxum fasciatum
Eriozona laxa
Eupeodes aberrantis
E. lapponicus
Hadromyia crawfordi
H. pulcher
Melangyna triangulifera
Parasyrphus relictus
Sericomyia chalopyga
Syritta pipiens
Syrphus opinator
S. ribesii
Subtotals 61 5 3
Andrena nivalis
A. vicina 0
Apis mellifera
Bombus fernaldi 1
Halictus rubicundus sp.
Lasioglossum athabascense
L. sp. 1 (Dialictus)
L. sp. 2 (Dialictus)
L. sp. (Evylaeus)
Coelioxys sp.
Megachile vidua 1
Subtotals 8 6 0
Grand totals 110 23 5
peduncle, beginning with flowers in the basal portion of the
raceme and progressing acropetally so that the same inflores-
cence may have receptive flowers for up to 2 wk.
The ovary swells within 3–4 d following the withering of
the perianth and the androecium. These ovaries remained on
the infructescence whether or not they contained seeds. As the
ovaries matured into fruits, the capsules of the nonpollinated
flowers that presumably had no developing seed appeared ap-
preciably smaller in size than those containing seeds (see sec-
tion Fruit and seed set below).
Floral attractants and rewards—Perianth segments and
pistils were white to the human eye, while dehiscent anthers
released yellowish, cream-colored pollen. Ovaries commonly
turned pink-burgundy purple after the perianth and androeci-
um withered or when the outer whorls were dried by excessive
Scent was variable. In three inflorescences sampled in the
field, the floral odor was sweet and agreeable; to the second
author it was reminiscent of cultivated lilacs (Syringa). In the
remaining 12 inflorescences the odor was musty-acrid. Flow-
ers were removed from eight inflorescences at random and
placed in a clean, capped glass vial. The lid was removed and
the accumulated odor was described at 5-, 10-, and 30-min
intervals. Musty-acrid notes dominated with undertones of
sweet notes. The odor of these bottled flowers most resembled
cultivated privet (Ligustrum). Floral nectar was not detected
at any stage in the floral life-span.
Foraging insects and their pollen loads—Prospective pol-
linators represented three insect orders and varied considerably
in size, yet almost all foragers examined carried the pollen of
X. tenax (Table 1). Taxa within the order Diptera (true flies)
provided the most numerous and diverse group of foragers.
Flies represented six families, but the majority of identified
taxa (0.91) belonged to the family of hover flies (Syrphidae).
Hover flies were observed probing the stamens and style arms
with their probosces while they foraged. These insects re-
mained on an inflorescence for only a few seconds before fly-
ing to a second inflorescence. A total of 17 fly specimens were
measured with lengths varying from 8 mm (e.g., Parasyrphus
relictus)to17mm(Laphria sp.). The male-to-female sex ratio
of collected hover flies visiting X. tenax was low. Of 69 hover
flies evaluated, 0.277 were males. Only one specimen of Chei-
losia hoodiana (Syrphidae), the most commonly collected fly,
was a male.
Flower-visiting beetles (Coleoptera) were represented by
four families (Table 1). Beetles carried the pollen of X. tenax
as they grazed on whole anthers but were also observed to
place their heads into the shallow floral cup touching the style
arms with their legs and mouth parts. Cosmosalia chrysocoma
(Cerambycidae) was the most commonly observed species at
both sites and was observed flying from inflorescence to in-
florescence. However, individual beetles, particularly C. chry-
socoma, would remain on the same inflorescence for .1h.
On 21 June, 2001, at the Browder Ridge site, we observed
Epicauta spp. flying from X. tenax to flowers of Ceanothus
velutinus to drink nectar. A total of 33 beetles were measured,
ranging in length from 9 mm (e.g., Anastranglia laetifica)to
16 mm (e.g., Cosmosalia chrysocoma). Of 50 beetle speci-
mens in which gender was identified, 0.64 were males but only
two of the 25 specimens of Cosmosalia chrysocoma were fe-
2064 [Vol. 91A
Fig. 2. (A) Germination of pollen grains and pollen tube penetration of the style in an insect-pollinated (Open) flower of X. tenax (note that at least four
pollen tubes have penetrated the stigmatic surface and are now growing down through the transmission tissue). 12.53. (B) Early-acting self-incompatibility
response on the stigmatic ridge of a bagged, self-pollinated (Self) flower. Note the short pollen tubes on the stigmatic surface and the rare, solitary tube that
penetrated the style but grew into a triangular configuration. 253. (C) Skein of pollen tubes growing from the bases of the styles into the top of the ovary
following a long-distance pollination (note the tubes penetrating ovules). 253. (D) Stigmatic surface following an enhanced, long-distance pollination showing
far more pollen tubes penetrating the stigma and growing down through the transmission tissue then in either the insect-pollinated flower (A) or the bagged,
self-pollination (B). 253.
Bees (Hymenoptera) on X. tenax represented four families
but were the least frequently observed of all visitors. A total
of 14 bee specimens were measured ranging in size from 11
mm (e.g., Coelioxys sp.) to 18 mm (Bombus fernaldi). A sol-
itary specimen of Megachile vidua was the only male cap-
tured. All females, excluding Bombus fernaldi, were observed
clutching and scraping anthers for pollen. The ventral portions
of the bees’ bodies bounced against the style arms while they
scraped or vibrated anthers. The solitary specimen of Bombus
fernaldi was observed to extend its tongue into the inflores-
cence as if it were attempting to take nectar from the pedicels,
but this is a brood-parasitic species (syn. Psithyrus fernaldi)
that never collects pollen for its offspring. The collected spec-
imen represented the only observation of this species on X.
tenax for the duration of the study.
Of the 138 insect foragers collected on flowers of X. tenax
110 specimens (0.797) carried pollen of X. tenax exclusively
(Table 1). Insects bearing mixed loads carried a maximum of
two extra pollen types mixed with the pollen of X. tenax. The
most common pollen grains, in order of frequencies, were
identified as Ceanothus velutinus, general rosiid-type (Ame-
lanchier alnifolia,Fragaria spp., Rubus spp.—all flowering at
the three sites), and Rhododendron macrophylum. These spe-
cies are common co-flowering associates of X. tenax in the
Western Cascades (Ross and Chambers, 1988).
Pollen-pistil interactions in unbagged controls—The stig-
matic surfaces of all styles (N5243) of the unbagged, nat-
urally pollinated pistils (Open) bore hydrated pollen grains,
but the amount of pollen per stigmatic ridge varied from 14
to 790 grains. Pollen grains were deposited from the blunted,
circular, stigma tip down to the base of the stigmatic ridge
above the ovary (Fig. 2A). However, the vast majorityof these
grains either failed to germinate and were covered in callose
crusts, or produced short, irregular tubes, lacking callose plugs
that failed to penetrate the stigma surface.
Of 103 pistils examined only five (0.048) lacked pollen
tubes penetrating style and ovary tissue. A mean of approxi-
mately 8 pollen tubes was found in the pooled, 24-h-old styles
on each pistil with a mean of approximately 2 tubes actually
penetrating each ovary. We reject the null hypothesis thatflow-
ers that were never bagged contain the same number of pollen
tubes/pistil as those that were bagged throughout the flowering
period (Table 2).
Pollen-pistil interactions in bagged flowers—As described
for unbagged flowers above, all stigmatic surfaces were coated
with pollen grains regardless of treatment. In all treatments,
hydrated grains that failed to produce tubes penetrating trans-
mission tissue outnumbered hydrated grains with penetrating
tubes. The continued presence of heavy deposits of pollen on
Self–treated stigmas, despite no hand-pollination, indicated
that mechanical self-pollination (autogamy) occurred consis-
tently in this species. The mean number of pollen tubes de-
tected in styles of bagged flowers (Self treatment) was ap-
December 2004] 2065V
2. Mean number of pollen tubes and 95% confidence intervals
(CI) in style and ovary of self-pollinated Xerophyllum tenax flowers
(Self), open-pollinated flowers (Open), flowers mechanically cross-
pollinated with flowers from nearby plants (Short-distance cross),
and flowers mechanically cross-pollinated with flowers from a dif-
ferent population separated by 13 km (Long-distance cross). Dif-
ferent letters denote significant differences between treatments
(Kolmogorov-Smirnov test P
Treatment NMean CI
Short-distance cross
Long-distance cross
[2.17, 5.37]
[6.10, 10.32]
[18.73, 29.25]
[11.03, 16.14]
Short-distance cross
Long-distance cross
[0.72, 2.32]
[14.70, 24.20]
[10.64, 19.29]
No analysis performed as there were no pollen tubes detected in
3. Differences between treatments of bagged (Self) and unbagged for natural insect pollination (Open) inflorescences collected from
Xerophyllum tenax. Significant differences between treatments in mean inflorescence length and mean number of flowers per inflorescence by
Tukey’s HSD; the Kruskal-Wallis test was also used for detection of significant difference between treatments in mean capsules per flower at
0.05. Significant difference between treatments is indicated by different letters. Data are presented as means (
1 SD).
Inflorescence length (cm)
Open Self
No. flowers per inflorescence
Open Self
No. capsules per flower
Open Self
Camp Creek
Hackleman Creek
proximately 4 tubes and no tubes were found in their ovaries
(Table 2). Furthermore, the majority of these pollen tubes
showed some form of aberrant growth in their styles, either
developing excessive deposits of callose at their tips and/or
forming short ‘‘corkscrews’’ or tubes that grew backwards
forming geometric patterns (Fig. 2B). We reject the null hy-
pothesis that pistils of flowers that were bagged but not hand-
pollinated contained the same number of tubes in their styles
and ovaries as those pistils that were bagged and hand cross-
pollinated (Table 2).
There was a greater number of penetrating pollen tubes in
the stigmas and ovules of pistils that received SDP and LDP
(Fig. 2C, D) than those counted in Open or Self treatments
(Fig. 2A, B). In styles and ovaries of pistils that received the
SDP treatment, the mean number of penetrating pollen tubes
were approximately 24 and 20 tubes, respectively. In styles
and ovaries of pistils that received the LDP treatment the mean
numbers of penetrating pollen tubes were approximately 17
and 15 tubes, respectively. No significant difference was de-
tected in mean number of pollen tubes counted in styles or
ovaries between the SDP- and the LDP-treated pistils (Table
Fruit and seed set—Observations of the infructescences
and fruits at both sites showed distinct differences between
those that developed from flowers that were naturally polli-
nated (Open) and those bagged (Self). Although there was no
significant difference in the number of flowers per inflores-
cence, we detected a significant difference in mean length be-
tween bagged and unbagged infructescences at both sites (Ta-
ble 3). The size of infructescence may be a function of capsule
development as the open pollinated flowers on the (Open)
treated inflorescences produced larger, but not significantly
more capsules (Table 3). We observed that development was
arrested in capsules sampled from bagged inflorescences.
Those found to be #1 mm in length were not included in any
capsule analysis as they were obviously undeveloped capsules.
Even with this exclusion of undeveloped capsules, the analysis
indicated that there was no significant difference detected in
the mean capsule-to-flower ratio among the bagged and un-
bagged flowers (Table 3).
At both sites, the fruit that developed from the bagged flow-
ers, (autogamy) were significantly smaller in size (based on
measured capsule length) than those of the open-pollinated
flowers. The capsules from the open-pollinated flowers had a
significantly higher rate of filled seed compared to those from
the bagged inflorescences (Table 3). The number of filled seed
per capsule was related to capsule length which ranged from
1.6 to 7.2 mm. Capsules appeared to expand to accommodate
the number of developing seed, which was high as 12 seeds.
Length was directly related to number of filled seed (adjusted
50. 65, P,0.001), where the model (Y53.75 10.248X)
predicted that capsule ,4.0 mm would have a high probability
of no or few filled seed. The mean number of filled seed per
capsule was 7.06 and 0.94 seeds at the Hackleman Creek site,
and 6.63 and 0.18 seeds at the Camp Creek site for Open- and
Self-treated flowers, respectively (Fig. 3). The mean filled seed
per capsule of the bagged flowers was an order of magnitude
lower than that of the open-pollinated flowers indicating al-
most complete lack of ovule development in flowers prohib-
ited from cross-pollination. The effect was not absolute as a
few capsules developed from flowers that were inside the ny-
lon bags, and contained filled seeds. Excision of those capsules
revealed seeds that were fewer in number, smaller in size, and
predominantly empty. The mean number of empty seeds per
capsule was 0.03 and 0.30 seeds at the Hackleman Creek site,
and 0.08 and 0.23 seeds at the Camp Creek site for Open- and
Self-treated flowers, respectively (Fig. 3). In the capsules of
the open-pollinated flowers, empty seeds contributed to ,1%
of the total number of seeds, whereas in capsules of the flow-
ers receiving no cross-pollination, empty seeds contributed to
$50% or more of the total. Either total lack of any pollen
reaching the anthers or autogamy was possible for flowers that
had been bagged. It is likely no seed (or capsule) development
occurred if there was no pollination and aborted development
occurred with autogamy.
In the absence of floral nectar, X. tenax is restricted to guilds
of pollinators that consume pollen as a primary reward, but it
2066 [Vol. 91A
Fig. 3. Differences between treatments in (A) capsule length, (B) filled
seeds per capsule, and (C) empty seeds per capsule of 60 capsules sampled
from bagged (Self) and insect cross-pollinated (Open) inflorescences of Xe-
rophyllum tenax at the Camp Creek (N511) and Hackleman Creek (N5
12) sites in the central Cascades of Oregon. Differences between treatments
indicated are by different letters (P,0.01). Data are means 61 SD.
is not a pollinator-limited herb. Results here show that some
orders containing pollen-eating species can be both highly di-
verse and some may represent extensive populations in the
Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Floral presentation and insect
activity on X. tenax suggest a generalist mode of pollination
(sensu Waser et al., 1996), but direct observation, insect col-
lections, and pollen load analyses indicate that flies, beetles
and bees do not appear to contribute equally to the cross-
pollination of these flowers. Although female bees carried the
greatest numbers of pollen grains on their bodies and in their
pollen baskets (P. Bernhardt, unpublished data), they were the
least frequent foragers over two seasons. We observed medi-
um-large beetles on inflorescences every day we were in the
field and noted they moved sluggishly, at best, among neigh-
boring inflorescences of X. tenax. Flies probably effected the
majority of cross-pollinations. Among these three sites, species
within the family Syrphidae were the most frequent and
‘‘faithful’’ pollen vectors. Note that 0.88 of the hover flies
collected on X. tenax carried only the pollen of X.tenax.
The diversity of flies on the flowers of montane plants in
North America is usually explained on the basis of elevation
and prevailing climate. Bees are less common and become less
active under cooler, wetter regimes. Consequently plants dis-
tributed at higher elevations show shifts towards fly-pollina-
tion. Our own unpublished observations, though, suggest that
a wide variety of solitary bees and eusocial Bombus spp. for-
aged daily on C. velutinus,Fragaria spp., R. macrophyllum,
and Pedicularis racemosa. Despite the mass-flowering mode
of presentation, X. tenax is probably unattractive to the ma-
jority of common, montane bees as the light colors, disagree-
able odors and nectarless condition of its flowers fails to reflect
the suite of characters most often associated with bee-polli-
nation. Floral presentation in X. tenax is simply much closer
to the classic descriptions of fly-pollinated syndromes (Faegri
and van der Pijl, 1979) or the mass-flowering, ‘‘brush mode’
of beetle-pollination (see review in Bernhardt, 2000).
There is precedence for the skewed sex ratios of some insect
foragers. The greater proportion of foraging female bees is
predictable. Male bees do not, as a rule, collect pollen for the
offspring they sire and are probably not attracted to the nec-
tarless flowers of X. tenax. Flowers that have abundant pollen
may be more attractive to some female hover flies as a source
of lipids and amino acids to invest in eggs; to male flies not
having that use for pollen, nectarless flowers would be less
attractive. In contrast the higher ratio of males of the beetle
C. chrysocoma on inflorescences followed a pattern noted by
Dafni et al. (1990) and Goldblatt et al. (1998) for hairy, flower-
visiting scarabs. Male flower beetles often assemble and wait
for the arrival of unfertilized female beetles on preferredflow-
ers (Bernhardt, 2000), which suggests that an attribute not re-
lated directly to floral food may influence the sex ratio ofsome
beetles found on the flowers.
Therefore, floral presentation has diverged significantly
within the lineage that includes Paris,Trillium, and Xero-
phyllum. The first two genera produce much larger flowers
and, in most cases, a single flower terminates each peduncle.
Little is known of pollination systems in Paris but pollination
in Trillium appears to alternate between species pollinated by
flies vs. those pollinated by bees (including queens of Bombus
spp.) and several Trillium spp. are known to secrete nectar
(see review by Irwin, 2000). The trend within this lineage
(sensu Rudall et al., 2000) suggests a bifurcation in floral pre-
sentation. The mass-flowering of many small, nectarless flow-
ers of X. tenax attracts a broader range of potential pollen
vectors than the much larger (often nectariferous) flowers of
Trillium spp. that may attract a less diverse, but more spe-
cialized, spectrum of pollinators belonging to a single order.
More significantly, several species within this lineage retain
the same, early-acting self-incompatibility response. The stig-
matic ridge of X. tenax recognizes and rejects pollen produced
by the same plant as do the stigmas of some Trillium spp.
(Sage et al., 2000). While this self-incompatibility response is
atypical for monocotyledons in general, it may be more con-
servative within these allied genera than their more variable
modes of insect-pollination as Trillium populations show ei-
ther early-acting SI or are self-compatible (Irwin, 2000; Sage
December 2004] 2067V
et al., 2000). As a few bagged flowers of X. tenax set seeds
in the absence of cross-pollen, early-acting SI may be ‘‘leaky,’’
a feature common to other, unrelated taxa with early-acting
systems (Richards, 1997). A less likely possibility is that these
two populations of X. tenax show a small but persistent rate
of agamospermy.
This means that while short-tongue flies and beetles are in-
dicative of a ‘‘mess and soil’’ mode of pollination as described
by Faegri and van der Pijl (1979), our pollen tube analyses
suggest at least that some members of these orders are fairly
efficient agents of cross-pollination. Most vectors must transfer
a minimum of 1–8 viable grains of pollen from one plant to
a minimum of one flower on a second genet within 24 h after
the flower buds first open as almost 95% of all insect-polli-
nated pistils contained at least eight normal, penetrating tubes.
While less than two tubes penetrated ovules within 24 h, we
must remind ourselves that the tubes in the styles showed nor-
mal development and probably represented more than one in-
sect visit several hours apart. These tubes would have probably
reached the ovary had each one been allowed to grow the full
24 h as in the case of both sets of single-deposition, manually
manipulated cross-pollinations. As all flowers were harvested
24 h after the perianth expanded our results reflect insect vis-
itations limited to the first 25–33% of the actual floral life-
Technically, X. tenax cannot be labeled as a ‘‘pollen-limit-
ed’’ species either, because even the stigmatic ridges of bagged
flowers remain liberally coated with grains due to mechanical
or wind-driven self-pollination. However, due to the early-act-
ing self-incompatibility system relatively few adhering grains
produce tubes that penetrate pistil tissue. Although insects
transport pollen between compatible genets, pollen tube and
fruit and seed set analyses show clearly that they don’t deposit
enough compatible grains to fertilize every ovule in the same
ovary. This may also be because some insect pollinators are
likely to transfer additional incompatible grains as they visit
more than one flower in succession on the same inflorescence.
Therefore this geitonogamous transfer of grains may decrease
the effectiveness of an insect’s cross-pollination service.
Cross-pollinations made by hand from single sires selected
from presumably different genets result in far more pollen
tubes penetrating ovules than the vast majority of cross-pol-
linations perpetuated by insects. Consequently this species
may be described as ‘‘compatible-pollen limited’’ for, although
this plant is a copious pollen producer and attracts many vec-
tors that cross-pollinate, in 95% of all flowers seed set remains
relatively low.
The species is further limited by a fairly substantial light
requirement to produce the large racemes. It is adapted to the
variation and unpredictability of climate in late May and early
June in its montane habitat by producing an inflorescence with
many flowers that open sequentially over the span of several
weeks. Despite that flowering trait, we observed at one site
almost all flowers damaged by a late frost. In addition, flowers
are browsed presumably by large ungulates (Young et al.,
1939; Simpson, 1990). As long as a population remains intact,
plants within a population maintain their genetic structure
through rhizomatous regeneration and growth. However, if a
population is reduced in number by severe fire (Bradley,1984)
or other disturbances that would displace whole plants, this
study suggests that demographic recovery through outcrossing
may be slow. Seeds do not germinate readily in cultivation
and have long stratification requirements (Smart and Minore,
1977), so it is unlikely that hand-planting seedlings currently
represents a feasible technology. The rhizomatous habit may
maintain individual genets particularly when environmental
conditions do not favor flowering. However, after natural dis-
turbance such as fire, X. tenax with an incompatibility system
and copious pollen production as an attractant can ensure suf-
ficient outcrossing to effect gene flow and remixing of alleles.
In addition, by providing food that attracts numerous and di-
verse pollinators, X. tenax is assuming an important functional
role in a montane pollinator system.
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... However, we used a razor blade to butterfly the ovary wall and expose the ovules. We recorded the number of pollen grains adhering to the three stigmas and the number and lengths of pollen tubes in each of the three styles and within the compound ovary (see Vance et al. 2004) using a Zeiss Axio Imager.M2. We also observed fungal hyphae under autofluorescence because recent literature indicates that fungi can arrest growth of pollen tubes in the pistils of other angiosperms (see Brown et al. 2015, Domic et al. 2017. ...
... These slow, foraging beetles might be more likely to facilitate vector-mediated, self-pollination. We note that Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt. is also a member of the Melanthiaceae and is also visited by pollen-eating beetles (Vance et al. 2004). These beetles also remained on inflorescences for hours, and Vance et al. (2004) concluded that the dominant pollinators were flies in the family Syrphidae. ...
... We note that Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt. is also a member of the Melanthiaceae and is also visited by pollen-eating beetles (Vance et al. 2004). These beetles also remained on inflorescences for hours, and Vance et al. (2004) concluded that the dominant pollinators were flies in the family Syrphidae. Because our bagged flowers showed such low rates of fruit set by mechanical autogamy, we suspect that the primary agents of crosspollination at our site are probably short-tongue bees in the genus Lasioglossum (Halictidae). ...
... However, we used a razor blade to butterfly the ovary wall and expose the ovules. We recorded the number of pollen grains adhering to the three stigmas and the number and lengths of pollen tubes in each of the three styles and within the compound ovary (see Vance et al. 2004) using a Zeiss Axio Imager.M2. We also observed fungal hyphae under autofluorescence because recent literature indicates that fungi can arrest growth of pollen tubes in the pistils of other angiosperms (see Brown et al. 2015, Domic et al. 2017. ...
... These slow, foraging beetles might be more likely to facilitate vector-mediated, self-pollination. We note that Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt. is also a member of the Melanthiaceae and is also visited by pollen-eating beetles (Vance et al. 2004). These beetles also remained on inflorescences for hours, and Vance et al. (2004) concluded that the dominant pollinators were flies in the family Syrphidae. ...
... We note that Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt. is also a member of the Melanthiaceae and is also visited by pollen-eating beetles (Vance et al. 2004). These beetles also remained on inflorescences for hours, and Vance et al. (2004) concluded that the dominant pollinators were flies in the family Syrphidae. Because our bagged flowers showed such low rates of fruit set by mechanical autogamy, we suspect that the primary agents of crosspollination at our site are probably short-tongue bees in the genus Lasioglossum (Halictidae). ...
Full-text available
We compared the floral biology of two sympatric populations of closely related species over two seasons. In 2018, Nothoscordum bivalve (L.) Britton bloomed from April 23 to May 7 and Allium stellatum Nutt. Ex Ker Gawl bloomed from August 28 to October 4. Erect, white flowers of N. bivalve were scented and had septal nectaries. Erect, pink-purple flowers of A. stellatum had septal nectaries, no discernible scent, and a style that lengthened over the floral lifespan. Both species were pollinated by bees with the most common geometric mean of body dimensions between 2-3 mm. Most bees carried pure loads of the host plant’s pollen. Despite phenological isolation, the two herbs shared three bee species. Allium stellatum was also pollinated by the beetle Chauliognathus pensylvanicus DeGeer (Cantharidae). Tepal nyctinasty ensured mechanical self-pollination in N. bivalve. Protandry occurred in A. stellatum. In N. bivalve, the proportion of pollen tubes penetrating ovules was highest in bagged, self-pollinating flowers. However, in A. stellatum it was highest in exposed flowers and hand cross-pollinated flowers. Fruit set in N. bivalve was highest in exposed and bagged, self-pollinating flowers. In A. stellatum, fruit set was highest in both exposed and hand cross-pollinated flowers. Seed set was the same among all treatments for both species. We interpret these results as evidence that A. stellatum is a self-incompatible, obligate outcrosser. Nothoscodum bivalve is a self-compatible, obligate inbreeder employing mechanical and insect-mediated self-pollination. Outbreeding depression appears to occur in N. bivalve with a partial trend towards intraspecific cross-incompatibility.
... A wide range of ILK-holders across the world value nature's gifts of landscape management practices that foster biocultural diversity for pollinators and pollination. Relevant landscape (social-ecological) management practices include: taboos on felling bee-hive trees and pollinatorhabitat forest patches (Césard and Heri, 2015); kinship relationships requiring respect and care with pollinators (Hill et al., 1999;Gasca, 2005); fire management to enhance pollination by increasing floral resources (Vance et al., 2004); mental maps and animal behaviour knowledge to hunt honey (Si, 2013) Kawaiwete Indians (previously known as Kaiabi) now live in the Xingu Indian Park, in Southern Amazon. Stingless bees are under the protection of a strong entity who may well punish and inflict "bee illness" onto those who do not show proper respect and observe silence when collecting honey. ...
... Vegetation fires in bear 'grass' (Xerophyllum tenax, in the Lilieaceae family), pollinated by pollen-eating flies (primarily members of the family Syrphidae), beetles (primarily Cosmosalia and Epicauta spp.), and small bees (Vance et al., 2004), are managed by First Nations peoples in northern America to ensure production of this grass and promote qualities suitable for contemporary traditional purposes, such as basketry that requires strong, flexible, straight leaves (Charnley and Hummel, 2011). Traditional First Nation fire practices "favored beargrass, its habitat, its cultural uses, its flowers, and presumably, associated pollinator communities as well as other species that use it for food, habitat, and nesting material" (Charnley and Hummel, 2011). ...
Diverse knowledge systems, including science and indigenous and local knowledge (ILK), contribute to understanding pollinators and pollination, their economic, environmental and socio-cultural values and their management globally(well established). Scientific knowledge provides extensive and multidimensional understanding of pollinators and pollination, resulting in detailed understanding of their diversity, functions and steps needed to protect pollinators and the values they produce. In indigenous and local knowledge systems, pollination processes are often understood, celebrated and managed holistically in terms of maintaining values through fostering fertility, fecundity, spirituality and diversity of farms, gardens, and other habitats. The combined use of economic, socio-cultural and holistic valuation of pollinator gains and losses, using multiple knowledge systems, brings different perspectives from different stakeholder groups, providing more information for the management of and decision-making about pollinators and pollination, although key knowledge gaps remain.
... Furthermore, hoverflies visits, although not recorded in all populations or years, positively affected seed set in control treatment. Hoverflies can have a strong positive effect on seed set (Vance et al., 2004), and in some plant species characterised by open flowers, these insects are more efficient pollinators than bumblebees (Fontaine et al., 2006). Moreover, hoverflies can carry pollen over longer distances than bees (Lysenkov, 2009), which may increase the probability of cross-pollination with the pollen of unrelated individuals, resulting in the production of more seeds of better quality, in P. caeruleum. ...
Full-text available
A vast majority of angiosperms are pollinated by animals, and a decline in the number and diversity of insects often affects plant reproduction through pollen limitation. This phenomenon may be particularly severe in rare plant species, whose populations are shrinking. Here, we examined the variability in factors shaping reproductive success and pollen limitation in red-listed Polemonium caeruleum L. During a 5-year study in several populations of P. caeruleum (7-15, depending on year), we assessed the degree of pollen limitation based on differences in seed set between open-pollinated (control) and hand-pollinated flowers. We analysed the effects of flower visitors, population size, and meteorological data on plant reproductive success and pollen limitation. Our study showed that pollen limitation rarely affected P. caeruleum populations, and was present mainly in small populations. Pollen limitation index was negatively affected by the size of population, visitation frequency of all insects, and when considering the visitation frequency of individual groups, also by honeybee visits. Seed production in control treatment was positively influenced by the population size, average monthly precipitation in June and visits of hoverflies, while visits of honeybees, average monthly temperature in September, and average monthly precipitation in August influenced seed production negatively. As generalist plant P. caeruleum can be pollinated by diverse insect groups, however, in small populations their main visitors, the honeybees and bumblebees, may be less attracted, eventually leading to the disappearance of these populations. In pollination of P. caeruleum managed honeybees may play a dual role: while they are the most frequent and efficient flower visitors, their presence decreases seed set in open-pollinated flowers, which is most probably related to efficient pollen collection by these insects.
... Since P. incarum flowers have a coriaceous consistency, each flower was soaked in 1 N HCl solution for 30 minutes to soften the tissues and facilitate dissection [41]. Subsequently, they were washed with distilled water, immersed in a phosphate buffer pH 9.5 and stained with 1% aniline blue. ...
Full-text available
Anemophilous species depend on wind for sexual reproduction. When plants do not receive enough pollen and/or pollen has poor quality, they may experience pollen limitation. This can reduce the production of fruits and seeds with negative consequences on population dynamics. The self-compatibility system also plays an important role on the likelihood of a species suffering pollen limitation as it determines if plants can produce fruits and seeds in the absence of compatible mates. Here, we studied the breeding system of the Andean anemophilous tree Polylepis incarum, a critically endangered species endemic to Lake Titicaca. We conducted controlled experimental pollination experiments and florescence microscopy analysis to assess whether pollen limitation and the incompatibility system constrain fruit and seed production. Results showed that the seed set is limited by pollen availability, that P. incarum exhibits a pre-zygotic compatibility system and early inbreeding depression manifested during seed development. Therefore, self-pollination is a factor that could be partially associated with the production of non-viable seeds.
... In contrast to tephra disturbance, X. tenax plants survive fire well and sexual reproduction can actually be promoted by fire (Shebitz et al. 2008(Shebitz et al. , 2009Peter et al. 2017). Outcrossing appears necessary for seed production (Vance et al. 2004) and plants bloom very little in the shade Peter et al. 2017), resulting in limited seed production in the understory. In general, seedling establishment is rare to nonexistent in the understory (Peter et al. 2017), which is consistent with our observations over 40 years in an old-growth forest. ...
Forest understory herbs exhibit a large range of variation in morphology and life history. Here we expand the reported range of variation by describing the belowground structures of two very different species, Xerophyllum tenax and Chimaphila umbellata. We excavated individuals in forests of the Cascade Mountains, Pacific Northwest, USA. Xerophyllum tenax has short rhizomes, but an extensive root system that is exceptionally large among forest understory species. The roots reach 4 m in length and may occupy an area 50 times that of the aboveground canopy. In contrast, Chimaphila umbellata has very small roots, but an extensive rhizome system. The largest plant we excavated had 57 m of connected rhizomes and still had a seedling source. Both species have long-lived individuals but differ in response to disturbance. Based on monitoring of 151 permanent 1 m2 plots in an old-growth forest, X. tenax increased only minimally in density over 40 years following tephra deposition from the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, whereas density of C. umbellata increased substantially. The very different morphology of these two species highlights the large range of variation found among forest herbs, which needs to be considered when examining the forest understory.
... Few studies have specifically assessed the role of hoverflies (mainly Eristalinae) in the provision of pollination services to wild flowers (Vance et al., 2004;Fontaine et al., 2006) and crops, such as: apple (Solomon and Kendall, 1970;Kendall and Solomon, 1973), strawberries (Kendall et al., 1971;Nye and Anderson, 1974), cranberries (Gervais et al., 2018), sweet pepper (Jarlan et al. 1997), mustard (Mitra and Banerjee, 2007) or oilseed rape (Jauker and Wolters, 2008;Rader et al., 2009Rader et al., , 2011Jauker et al., 2012). From these, only Jauker and Wolters (2008) and Jauker et al. (2012) have assessed the pollination efficiency of the Syrphinae E. balteatus. ...
The main contemporary challenge for agriculture is to meet the food demands of the increasing world population while becoming more environmentally sustainable. One way to achieve this is through the promotion of functional biodiversity and the ecosystem (nature’s) services (ES) that it can provide. The Syrphinae subfamily is a widespread group of hoverflies with a high potential for that service. Hence, the present review aims to synthesize the existing literature on this group. This review is divided in three main sections. First, we focus on those aspects of the ecology of hoverflies that are relevant to their role in biological control. These are divided into nutrition, feeding preferences and prey detection of the different developmental stages, overwintering and the effect of landscape on their dispersal and efficacy. Second, we review the ES that predatory hoverflies can provide, particularly pollination and biological control. Finally, we discuss those farming practices that can affect the effectiveness of these Diptera as providers of ES. Overall, this review highlights the potential, as well as limitations and current gaps in knowledge, for enhancing the efficacy of hoverflies as ecosystem-service providers in agricultural systems.
... In the present study, 19.41 to 22.58% increment in seed set by syrphids was observed, which finds support from the observations of Morandin and Winston (2006), wherein yield gain by 15 to 25% was observed further resistance on hover flies to fluctuating environment conditions is reported. Obtained findings of effect of syrphids on seed set percentage of mustard were supported by studies on wild flowers Vance et al. (2004). ...
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Abstract The present investigation was carried out on in vitro mass multiplication, larval feeding capacity, and pollination efficiency of two aphidophagous syrphids viz., Eupeodes frequens (Matsmura) and Episyrphus balteatus (De Geer) (Diptera: Syrphidae) on cabbage aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae L.) (Homoptera: Aphididae) on mustard crop under mid hill conditions. The results revealed that the incubation, larval, and pupal periods were 3.5, 12.4, and 11.9 days, respectively for E. frequens and 3.8, 13.7, and 8.8 days, for E. balteatus. Longevity of male and female was 15.2 and 17.6 days for E. frequens and 10.6 and 12.6 days for E. balteatus, respectively. When the adults were fed on different diets, adult longevity and fecundity recorded significantly maximum on 10% honey solution + fresh pollen grains. E. frequens consumed an average of 261.7 individuals of cabbage aphids per larva during total larval period, whereas the larva of E. balteatus consumed 393.6 cabbage aphids. The pollination efficiency of hoverflies on Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.) was studied under caged conditions. It was observed that the plants pollinated by E. balteatus and E. frequens showed 55.12 and 52.97% seed set. Among the different diets, fresh pollen grains + 10% honey solutions recorded to be the best diet for mass rearing of syrphids.
A phytochemical investigation of the roots of Xerophyllum tenax led to the isolation of three undescribed feruloyl sucrose derivatives along with two known feruloyl sucrose derivatives, heloniosides A and B. This is the first report of their occurrence in the genus Xerophyllum and the family Melanthiaceae. The structures of these compounds were elucidated on the basis of chemical and spectroscopic analysis including 1D and 2D NMR and analysis of MS-MS fragmentation.
Understanding how plant populations respond to multiple drivers is increasingly critical for biodiversity conservation under global change. Indigenous knowledge can provide guidance for sustainable management, but the outcome of its application in novel ecosystems is rarely known. Simulating the re‐introduction of Indigenous stewardship in contemporary contexts with population models allows for the comparison of different management scenarios and the elucidation of the mechanisms driving population outcomes. Beargrass Xerophyllum tenax is an ecologically and culturally important understorey plant managed through fire and leaf harvest by Native Americans. We collected demographic and abiotic data on beargrass over 3 years across fire severities in nine populations and conducted an experiment to simulate Native American leaf gathering. These data were used to build integral projections models (IPMs) with soil moisture and light availability as covariates. With these IPMs, we simulated stochastic population growth rates across future fire and leaf harvest scenarios. We then decomposed our simulation results using stochastic life table response experiments (SLTREs). The ‘no fire’ and ‘business as usual’ (180‐year fire return interval, 58% probability of high‐severity fire) scenarios resulted in lower population growth rates than ‘Indigenous fire stewardship’ (10‐year fire return interval, 10% chance of high‐severity fire). SLTREs revealed that Indigenous stewardship led to higher beargrass population growth rates due to greater fire frequency, higher adult survival and increased vegetative reproduction. Fire also interacted with harvest in the simulations; leaf harvest increased population growth rate only in combination with Indigenous fire stewardship. Synthesis. Stochastic and retrospective population dynamics tools combined with an understanding of Indigenous management practices allow for the comparison of future socio‐ecological scenarios as well as mechanistic understanding of differences between scenarios. Simulated Indigenous stewardship supported the long‐term persistence of X. tenax populations while business as usual and no fire did not. The benefits of Indigenous stewardship to population dynamics, and the complexity of interactive effects of multiple drivers, provide further impetus for collaboration across Indigenous and western knowledge systems. Xerophyllum tenax is presented as a model system to explore the influence of Indigenous stewardship, or its absence, on population dynamics. Stochastic and retrospective population dynamics tools combined with an understanding of Indigenous management practices allow for the comparison of future socio‐ecological scenarios as well as mechanistic understanding of differences between scenarios. Simulated Indigenous stewardship supported the long‐term persistence of Xerophyllum tenax populations while business as usual and the lack of fire did not. The benefits of Indigenous stewardship to population dynamics, and the complexity of interactive effects of multiple drivers, provide further impetus for collaboration across Indigenous and western knowledge systems. For example, leaf harvest increased population growth rate only in combination with Indigenous fire stewardship. Xerophyllum tenax is presented as a model system to explore the influence of Indigenous stewardship, or its absence, on population dynamics. Image shows beargrass plants burn during a prescribed cultural fire in the Six Rivers National Forest in northern California. Photo credit: Frank K. Lake. Editor's Choice
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Anemone coronaria, Papaver rhoeas, Ranunculus asiaticus and Tulipa agenensis are pollinated primarily by scarabaeid beetles Amphicoma, Glaphyridae) and secondarily by bees (Lasioglossum marginatum, Halictidae, and Synhalonia plumigera, Anthophoridae). The 4 plant species have large bowl-shaped flowers which are orange-red in color with a black center, radial symmetry, weak scent (to humans), and filamentous stamens. It is suggested that there is a convergent evolution of red bowl-shaped flowers in the E Mediterranean region, concordant with a center of diversity in the genus Amphicoma. the floral phenology of these "poppy guild' species correlated positively with the amount of edible pollen produced by each of them and with the visiting frequencies of their pollinators. Experiments showed that Amphicoma beetles also preferred red, odorless flower models over odorless models of different colors, and models with a dark center over plain red ones. This evidence extends the classic concepts of beetle pollination, suggesting a "shift' from scent to color as a primary attractant and the domination of orange-red (typical "bird-flower' colors) as the visual cue. -Authors
Nivenia, a shrubby genus of the Cape Province, South Africa, comprises five distylous species (N. binata, N. capitata, N. corymbosa, N. dispar, N. stenosiphon) and four monomorphic species. Hand pollinations of natural populations of seven Nivenia species have confirmed previous reports of self-compatibility. Pollen deposited on the stigma of all species germinates and pollen tubes penetrate the ovary within 8-20 h whether the pollen comes from the same flower or inflorescence, or from different morphs. The nature of self-compatibility appears to be similar in the two monomorphic species studied (N. levynsiae, N. stokoei) and in the five distylous species. However, in N. capitata a few abortive pollen tubes (±5%) were found in the styles of two long-styled morphs that had been selfed and in one short-styled flower pollinated with pollen from a long-styled plant. Four out of five distylous species have pollen size but not exine dimorphism. The flowers of Nivenia species are unscented, tubular, and nectariferous, encouraging a “trapline” pollination syndrome. The major pollinators appear to be large-bodied, long-tongued bees of the family Anthophoridae or long-tongued fries of the family Nemastrinidae; the latter evidently are the exclusive pollinators of N. binata and N. stenosiphon. Both insects insert their tongues down the long floral tubes and collect nectar while hovering. The exserted anthers of flowers of the monomorphic Nivenia species and the short-styled flowers deposit pollen on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the insects’ thorax and abdomen. Pollen deposition from anthers of the long-styled flowers appears to be confined to the insects’ head. Differential deposition of pollen from the two floral morphs thus facilitates intermorph pollinations. Analysis of nectar sugars indicates high sucrose:hexose ratios and relatively high sugar concentrations, consistent with insect pollination. The combination of self-compatibility, adaptive floral morphology, and ratio of floral morphs within populations does not suggest that Nivenia is a model of either conventional 0Primula-type) distyly or andromonoecy. We suggest that the genus is derived from self-incompatible ancestors, perhaps now extinct, but the self-incompatibility response has declined, while dimorphic flowers are retained in five of the nine extant species. We presume that self-compatibility and the loss of distyly reflect a trend in the adaptive radiation of the genus towards harsher, xeric environments and a sublithophytic habitat.
A literature review of 34 families of flowering plants containing at least one species pollinated primarily by beetles is presented. While the majority of species are represented by magnoliids and basal monocotyledons specialized, beetle-pollinated systems have evolved independently in 14 families of eudicotyldons and six families of petaloid monocots. Four, overlapping modes of floral presentation in plants pollinated exclusively by beetles (Bilabiate, Brush, Chamber Blossom and Painted Bowl) are described. Chamber Blossoms and Painted Bowls are the two most common modes. Chamber Blossoms, found in magnoliids, primitive monocotyledons and in some families of woody eudicots, exploit the greatest diversity of beetle pollinators. Painted Bowls are restricted to petaloid monocots and a few families of eudicots dependent primarily on hairy species of Scarabaeidae as pollen vectors. In contrast, generalist flowers pollinated by a combination of beetles and other animals are recorded in 22 families. Generalist systems are more likely to secrete nectar and exploit four beetle families absent in specialist flowers. Centers of diversity for species with specialized, beetle-pollinated systems are distributed through the wet tropics (centers for Brush and Chamber Blossoms) to warm temperate-Mediterranean zones (centers for Painted Bowls and a few Bilabiate flowers). It is unlikely that beetles were the first pollinators of angiosperms but specialized, beetle-pollinated flowers must have evolved by the midlate Cretaceous to join pre-existing guilds of beetle-pollinated gymnosperms. The floras of Australia and western North America suggest that mutualistic interactions between beetles and flowers has been a continuous and labile trend in angiosperms with novel interactions evolving through the Tertiary.
This guide is a collection of information about economically important vascular and nonvascular plants and fungi found in the Pacific Northwest that furnish special forest products. Many of these plants and fungi are also found in Alaska, northern Idaho, and western Montana. They contribute to many botanical, floral, woodcraft, and decorative industries and to the rapidly growing medicinal, herbal, and natural foods industries. Internet commerce has made these products available to consumers worldwide and expanded interest in medicinal plants, decorative floral products, and edible wild fruits and mushrooms. This guide provides a consolidated information resource that briefly describes biological, ecological attributes of over 60 plants and fungi, and their wild harvest methods, alternatives to wild harvest, and uses. The harvest techniques described in the guide are based on the recommendations of experienced harvesters and experts who have worked with these botanical resources and support sustainable practices. Information for this guide was gathered from various documents and other sources. The technical areas of expertise consulted spanned a wide range of knowledge including plant biological and ecological sciences, ethnobotany, horticulture, mycology, and forest ecology.
Twenty Persoonia spp. and two interspecific hybrids (P. acerosa × P. levis, P. microphylla × P. mollis) differing, floral scents were recognised. P. pinifolia and P. subvelutina produce nectar that is sucrose dominant. Twenty two insect taxa were collected on the flowers but field observations and the analyses of pollen loads by insects suggested that Persoonia is pollinated primarily by bees. Specifically, the most consistent pollen vectors were native Leioproctus species (Colletidae; subgenus Cladocerapis) and Exoneura species (Anthophoridae).
This work is NOT from Taxon. It is a book published by Timber Press in 1989, 908 pages, listing 46,000 uses of plants by native American people.
Field observations, floral dissections, and pollen load analyses of insects indicate that pollination by hopliine beetles (Scarabaeidae: Rutelinae: Hopliini) has evolved convergently in many genera of herbaceous perennials in southern Africa. Beetle-pollinated flowers are identified by a suite of characters including a salver- to shallow bowl-shaped perianth and pigmentation emphasizing bright colors (red, orange, cream). Stereotyped "beetle marks" of either pale or dark color are frequently present at the bases of tepals or petals. These flowers are typically odorless and rarely offer nectar. Beetles, however, consume anthers and pollen, which are often a contrasting color from the perianth. Taxa that are pollinated by hopliine beetles include species in genera of the Hyacinthaceae (Daubenya, Ornithogalum), Iridaceae (Aristea, Homeria, Ixia, Moraea, Romulea, Sparaxis, Tritonia), and Hypoxidaceae (Spiloxene) in the monocots and Asteraceae (Arctotis, Ursinia), Campanulaceae (Prismatocarpus, Wahlenbergia), and Droseraceae (Drosera) among the dicots. Hopliine pollinators include both male and female beetles in the genera Anisonyx, Anisochelus, Heterochelis, Khoina, Lepisia, Lepithrix, Pachycnema, and Peritrichia. These beetles visit flowers to consume pollen and possibly nectar, to compete for mates, and to copulate. Pollen is usually deposited on or between hairs on the exoskeleton. The suite of characters associated with beetle pollination in these herbaceous geophytes is closer to that described in the herbaceous perennials of the eastern Mediterranean Basin and the woody flora of eastern Australia than it is to the classic series of features associated with magnoliid angiosperms.
Facultative cleistogamy has not been found In some Austrahan Amyema spp , and the stigma does not functlon in pollen presentation at anthesis. Wlthin mature flower buds self-polllnatlon is prevented by morphological and physiological barriers, a protandrous condition largely prevents mechanical or zoophilous self-pollination In vitro pollination experiments revealed that xenogamous crosses are most successful In the production of pollen tubes in the style although geitonogamy may act as a 'fail safe mechanism' at varying levels under natural condltlons in A miquelii (Lehm, ex Miq) Van Tiegh, A. miraculosum (Miq ) Van Tiegh and A. penduium (Sieber ex Spreng ) Van Tiegh. Of the four species studied, A. quandang (Lindl ) Van Tiegh had the highest levels of self-compatibility.