Luo, Shixiao; Zhang, Dianxiang; Renner, Susanne S.
Duodichogamy and androdioecy in the Chinese Phyllanthaceae Bridelia tomentosa.
In: American journal of botany, Vol. 94, No. 2: pp. 260-265
Flowering plants commonly separate male and female function in time, but rarely are the two stages synchronized within and among individuals. One such temporal mating system is duodichogamy in which each plant produces two batches of male flowers that are temporally separated by a batch of female flowers, with within-individual synchrony and among-individual asynchrony to ensure mating partners. Duodichogamy is known only from a few species in four genera in unrelated families. We report on duodichogamy in the Chinese tree species Bridelia tomentosa (Phyllanthaceae), a common colonizer of disturbed habitats. In three populations monitored over 2 yr, most trees flowered in the order male → female → male, and resting periods between flowering bouts precluded selfing almost completely. Individuals flowered for several weeks, with the onset of flowering slightly asynchronous among trees. Pollination was by flies, and experimental pollen supplementation of a subset of a tree’s flowers did not increase fruit set, suggesting high levels of insect visitation and possible resource limitation. Nineteen percent of the 166 trees monitored skipped the first male phase, and another 13% skipped the female phase, remaining male in both years (and also a third year). The regular presence of pure males, if genetically fixed, would make B. tomentosa androdioecious in addition to duodichogamous. Comparison of duodichogamous taxa known so far shows that all have few ovules, fitting with the hypothesis that duodichogamy may result from male competition for access to a small supply of ovules.