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Wang, Yingqiang; Zhang, Dianxiang; Renner, Susanne S. and Chen, Zhongyi (2005): Self-pollination by sliding pollen in Caulokaempferia coenobialis (Zingiberaceae). In: International journal of plant sciences, Vol. 166, No. 5: pp. 753-759 [PDF, 308kB]


Caulokaempferia coenobialis (Zingiberaceae) forms dense populations on steep cliffs in shady, humid monsoon forests in south China. It produces few consecutively opening bright yellow flowers that are 3 cm long and oriented parallel to the ground. Upon anther dehiscence at about 0600 hours, each pollen sac releases a drop of pollen onto the horizontally oriented style, and the two drops then merge to form an oily film that slowly flows toward the stigma, carrying out self-pollination between about 1500 and 0730 hours the next day. The distance covered by the pollen film is ca. 3 mm. There is no significant difference in fruit set between experimentally cross- and self-pollinated flowers or between naturally pollinated and bagged flowers. The low pollen/ovule ratio of 664 probably relates to the pollen grains being held together by pollen-connecting threads. The latter ensure that pollen grains always arrive as multiples, and this is the first report of such threads in the Zingiberaceae. During 35 h of observation at several locations and during three flowering periods, only three individual bees, five flies, and two butterflies visited single flowers. It remained unclear whether they affected pollination because no return visits were observed. The automatic selfing by pollen that reaches the stigma ca. 9 h after the onset of anthesis apparently constitutes a case of delayed selfing, providing reproductive reassurance in situations of low pollinator visitation.

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