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Keywords:

  • Floral rewards;
  • flower size;
  • Leguminosae;
  • pollen presentation;
  • pollination mechanism

Abstract

The pollen:ovule ratio (P/O) has traditionally been used as a rough estimator of plant breeding systems. It has been shown that plant breeding systems are associated with particular floral traits. In this study, we determined the P/O in 21 Leguminosae species from Argentina and explored relationships between P/O and taxonomic position, flower size, floral rewards, pollen presentation and pollination mechanisms. According to the results, 15 out of the 21 species classified were obligate xenogamous, although some of them have been recorded as facultative xenogamous in previous studies. There was a significant effect of taxonomic position (genus), reward type and pollination mechanism on P/O. Species offering only nectar as a floral reward (which were species with a brush mechanism) had a significantly lower P/O than species offering pollen or pollen and nectar. Species with the brush pollination mechanism had the lowest P/O, while species with valvular and pump mechanism had the highest P/O. However, pollen presentation (primary and secondary) and flower size did not have a significant effect on P/O. Our results demonstrate that P/O variability is determined by taxonomic position and pollination mechanism in this plant group.