J Plant Ecol ›› 2018, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (1): 123-135.

• Research Articles •

### Floral biology and pollination mechanisms of four Mexico-endemic Fuchsia species with contrasting reproductive systems

Clementina González1, Anai Alvarez-Baños2 and Eduardo Cuevas2,3,*

1. 1 CONACYT-Instituto de Investigaciones sobre los Recursos Naturales, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Av. San Juanito Itzícuaro s/n, Col. Nueva Esperanza, Morelia Michoacán 58330, México; 2 Facultad de Biología, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Av. Francisco J. Mújica S/N, Ciudad Universitaria, Morelia, Michoacán 58030, México; 3 Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Universidad de Sevilla, Apartado 1095, 41080 Sevilla, Spain
• Received:2016-06-20 Accepted:2016-10-19 Published:2018-01-18
• Contact: Cuevas, Eduardo

Abstract: Aims The evolution of the outstanding variation of reproductive systems in angiosperms has been considered an important driver of lineage diversification. Closely related hermaphroditic and dioecious species with biotic pollination provide the opportunity to study and compare traits related to pollinator attraction and their consequences on reproductive components. A higher predictability of pollination syndromes is expected in dioecious species, which are dependent on pollinators, than in self-compatible hermaphroditic taxa. Dioecious species may suffer pollen limitation depending on the quality of floral rewards and the kind and abundance of pollinators, whereas no pollen limitation is expected in hermaphroditic species with autonomous self-pollination. Additionally, in the absence of pollen limitation, more or better seeds are expected in dioecious species, according to the sexual specialization hypothesis.
Methods In natural populations of the hermaphroditic Fuchsia fulgens and Fuchsia arborescens and dioecious Fuchsia parviflora and Fuchsia obconica, all endemic to Mexico, we first described flower phenology, flower production and longevity and nectar volume and concentration. Then, we evaluated the correspondence between floral visitors and pollination syndromes. In hermaphrodite plants, we determined the level of herkogamy and the potential for autonomous self-pollination. Finally, we evaluated the effect of pollen limitation on fruit set and seed number and assessed seed germination for all species.
Important findings In contrast to our prediction, dioecious species did not show a higher correspondence between pollination syndromes and floral visitors than did hermaphrodites; however, male flowers exhibited a higher correspondence than female flowers. No pollen limitation was detected in dioecious species, for which visitation rate did not differ between male and female flowers. The hermaphroditic F. fulgens showed pollen limitation for seed number, despite the presence of autonomous selfing. Fruit set from autonomous pollination was higher in F. arborescens, which showed a lower level of herkogamy compared with F. fulgens. Finally, dioecious species produced fewer but heavier seeds compared with hermaphrodite species. Although Fuchsia is classified as an outcrossing genus, both hermaphroditic species showed autonomous self-pollination. The heavier but lower number of seeds per fruit in dioecious species may be related to the more efficient resource allocation expected from sexual specialization. This could play an important role in the evolution of dioecy; however, a comparative phylogenetic approach is required to confirm this hypothesis.

Aims The evolution of the outstanding variation of reproductive systems in angiosperms has been considered an important driver of lineage diversification. Closely related hermaphroditic and dioecious species with biotic pollination provide the opportunity to study and compare traits related to pollinator attraction and their consequences on reproductive components. A higher predictability of pollination syndromes is expected in dioecious species, which are dependent on pollinators, than in self-compatible hermaphroditic taxa. Dioecious species may suffer pollen limitation depending on the quality of floral rewards and the kind and abundance of pollinators, whereas no pollen limitation is expected in hermaphroditic species with autonomous self-pollination. Additionally, in the absence of pollen limitation, more or better seeds are expected in dioecious species, according to the sexual specialization hypothesis.
Methods In natural populations of the hermaphroditic Fuchsia fulgens and Fuchsia arborescens and dioecious Fuchsia parviflora and Fuchsia obconica, all endemic to Mexico, we first described flower phenology, flower production and longevity and nectar volume and concentration. Then, we evaluated the correspondence between floral visitors and pollination syndromes. In hermaphrodite plants, we determined the level of herkogamy and the potential for autonomous self-pollination. Finally, we evaluated the effect of pollen limitation on fruit set and seed number and assessed seed germination for all species.
Important findings In contrast to our prediction, dioecious species did not show a higher correspondence between pollination syndromes and floral visitors than did hermaphrodites; however, male flowers exhibited a higher correspondence than female flowers. No pollen limitation was detected in dioecious species, for which visitation rate did not differ between male and female flowers. The hermaphroditic F. fulgens showed pollen limitation for seed number, despite the presence of autonomous selfing. Fruit set from autonomous pollination was higher in F. arborescens, which showed a lower level of herkogamy compared with F. fulgens. Finally, dioecious species produced fewer but heavier seeds compared with hermaphrodite species. Although Fuchsia is classified as an outcrossing genus, both hermaphroditic species showed autonomous self-pollination. The heavier but lower number of seeds per fruit in dioecious species may be related to the more efficient resource allocation expected from sexual specialization. This could play an important role in the evolution of dioecy; however, a comparative phylogenetic approach is required to confirm this hypothesis.