Get access

Enantiostyly in Chamaecrista ramosa (Fabaceae-Caesalpinioideae): floral morphology, pollen transfer dynamics and breeding system


  • Editor
    A. Dafni

C. C. Castro, Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, Avenida Bom Pastor, s/n, Garanhuns, PE, Brazil, 55296-901.


Enantiostyly is a form of reciprocal herkogamy, in which floral morphs present reciprocal differences in the position of sexual elements, and occurs in monomorphic and dimorphic forms. This polymorphism maximises cross-pollination and reduces self-pollination, being very common within the subtribe Cassiinae (Fabaceae). Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the functionality of enantiostyly, particularly in this plant group. The present study aimed to investigate enantiostyly and its functionality in Chamaecrista ramosa, a monomorphic enantiostylous shrub, in an area of coastal vegetation in northeast Brazil. Pollen deposition and capture on the body of floral visitors, the relationship of these data with floral biology and breeding system, and morph ratio were evaluated. Pollen deposition and capture occurred in specific sites of the floral visitor body, showing the functionality of enantiostyly. The floral architecture, associated with the floral visitor behaviour, resulted in indirect pollen deposition on the floral visitor body. This occurred through a loop made by the pollen upon the inner petal surface, similar that generally reported for other Cassiinae. Chamaecrista ramosa is self-compatible, although no fruit set was observed through spontaneous self-pollination. The occurrence and number of floral morphs was similar within clumps. Enantiostyly seems to be advantageous for this species, as it results in efficient pollen capture and deposition, reduces the chances of autogamy and maximises intermorph pollen flow.