SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Developmental constraints;
  • floral evolution;
  • floral variation;
  • phenotypic integration;
  • plant-pollinator interaction;
  • self-compatibility

Natural selection should reduce phenotypic variation and increase integration of floral traits involved in placement of pollen grains on stigmas. In this study, we examine the role of pollinators and breeding system on the evolution of floral traits by comparing the patterns of floral phenotypic variances and covariances in 20 Ipomoea species that differ in their level of pollination specialization and pollinator dependence incorporating phylogenetic relatedness. Plants with specialized pollination (i.e., those pollinated by one functional group or by few morphospecies) displayed less phenotypic variation and greater floral integration than generalist plants. Self-compatible species also displayed greater floral integration than self-incompatible species. Floral traits involved in pollen placement and pick up showed less variation and greater integration than floral traits involved in pollinator attraction. Analytical models indicate that both breeding system and the number of morphospecies had significant effects on floral integration patterns although only differences in the former were significant after accounting for phylogeny. These results suggest that specialist/self-compatible plants experience more consistent selection on floral traits than generalist/self-incompatible plants. Furthermore, pollinators and breeding system promote integration of floral traits involved in pollen placement and pick up rather than integration of the whole flower.