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Flowering dynamics and pollination system of the sedge Rhynchospora ciliata (Vahl) Kükenth (Cyperaceae): does ambophily enhance its reproductive success?

Authors

  • A. C. G. Costa,

    1. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Vegetal. Departamento de Botânica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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  • I. C. Machado

    1. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Vegetal. Departamento de Botânica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
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  • Editor
    A. Dafni

I. C. Machado. Departamento de Botânica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco. CEP 50372-970, Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.
E-mail imachado@ufpe.br

Abstract

Cyperaceae are characteristically anemophilous, but there are some reports of species re-adapted to entomophily, such as Rhynchospora ciliata. Our objective was to investigate: (1) the distribution pattern of flowers in inflorescences of Rhynchospora ciliata; (2) the dynamics of its anthesis; and (3) whether R. ciliata is pollinated by bees, by wind or by both. Additionally, we tested the hypotheses: (i) the hypsophylls and/or anthers attract pollinators, and (ii) biotic vectors enhance the reproductive success of R. ciliata. We analysed floral biology, dynamics of anthesis, frequency and behaviour of insects visiting flowers; we also carried out experiments on flower attractiveness, pollination by wind and reproductive success. Rhynchospora ciliata has flowers with anemophilous attributes, including anthers exposed during anthesis; however, the anthers (here considered a mixed trait) together with the white hypsophylls can be considered as attributes that favour entomophily. Both wind and four species of bee were considered as pollen vectors of R. ciliata. Through flower attractiveness tests, we observed that the hypsophylls do not affect the frequency of pollinating bees and that the absence of exposed anthers affects the average number of visits, probably because pollen is the only floral resource. Reproductive tests indicate that R. ciliata is self-incompatible and that ambophily enhances its reproductive success.

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