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Keywords:

  • Amaryllidaceae;
  • disassortative mating;
  • heterostyly;
  • morph ratios;
  • population size;
  • stigma-height dimorphism

An unusual stylar dimorphism occurs in Narcissus, a plant genus of insect-pollinated Mediterranean geophytes. To determine the characteristics of the sexual polymorphism, we investigated floral variation in 46 populations of N. assoanus (section Jonquillae) and 21 populations of N. dubius (section Tazettae) in SW France. Flowers possess two stamen levels in each morph that occupy slightly different positions within the floral tube. In long-styled plants (L-morph), the stigma is located within or slightly above the upper-level stamens, whereas in short-styled plants (S-morph) the stigma is placed well below the lower-level stamens. The stigma-height dimorphism is distinct from heterostyly because the reciprocity of stigma and anther positions in the two style morphs is only weakly developed and there are no differences between the style morphs in pollen size or production. In both species, mean stigma–anther separation is much greater in the S-morph than the L-morph. In N. assoanus, population style-morph ratios vary from isoplethy (1L:1S) to L-biased, whereas in N. dubius they are usually strongly L-biased or occasionally contain only the L-morph. Populations fixed for the S-morph, or with S-biased morph ratios, were not observed. In N. assoanus, style-morph ratios were associated with population size: large continuous populations always exhibited 1:1 morph ratios, whereas smaller, fragmented populations were often L-biased. This pattern was not evident in N. dubius. We argue that biased style-morph ratios largely result from morph-specific differences in assortative mating.