Flowering phenology, seed set and bird pollination of five Western Australian Banksia species

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Abstract

Flowering phenology and seed set characteristics of five species of Banksia were studied in relation to the nectarivorous birds which feed at their inflorescences. Within the Banksia woodland at the study site near Perth, the flowering seasons of the Banksia species were sequential and only slightly overlapping, providing a year-round nectar source. Although honeyeaters visited alt five species, seed set was very low in each case. Caging experiments indicated that, in B. attenuata at least, alternative pollinators may play a more important role in pollination than do nectar-feeding birds. It is suggested that non-avian pollinators, predatory insects, and characteristics of the breeding system may also have been important in the evolution of the observed flowering phenology and patterns of seed set.

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