Processes of isolation and introgressive interplay between Platanthera bifolia (L.) Rich and P. chlorantha (Custer) Reichb. (Orchidaceae)



NILSSON, L. A., 1983. Processes of isolation and introgressive interplay between Platanthera bifolia L. Rich, and P. chlorantha (Custer; Reichb. (Orchidaceae). Platanthera bifolia and P. chlorantha are highly specialized for pollination by crepuscular and nocturnal Lepidoptera. The plants are largely sympatric, have overlapping flowering-times, and are completely interfertile. Principal differences exist in floral fragrance and column morphology. Isolation is effected by a set of integrated morphological, ethological, and seasonal mechanisms. Odour-based constancy by moths, differences in column structure, attachment of pollinaria, spurlength, nectar availability, and flowering-peaks reduce interspecific pollen transfer. The plants form a functional species pair in relation to their pollination environment and locally share the same main pollinator species.

Hybrids, which infrequently occur in areas of sympatry, emit a blend of the species-specific fragrance compounds and have intermediate column structure. They are frequently visited by-moths but suffer a serious reduction in seed production due to imperfect interaction vis-à-vis the pollen vectors. Hybrid viscidia, in an intermediate position on the column, are touched by moths' scaly and hairy palps and get insufficient attachment, evidently causing hybrids to act solely as female recipient. First backcross individuals largely join the functional range of either species which promotes rapid introgression. The two gene-pools interplay, although always at a low level. Patterns of introgressive hybridization were exemplified.