Breeding system variability, pollination biology, and reproductive success of rare Polemonium caeruleum L. in NE Poland

Beata Ostrowiecka, Emilia Brzosko, Edyta Jermakowicz, Ada Wróblewska, Paweł Mirski, Katarzyna Roguz, Justyna Ryniewicz, Marcin Zych, Izabela Tałałaj


Polemonium caeruleum (Polemoniaceae) represents a very interesting system of compatibility transition. Studies of its biological and ecological properties in the context of the breeding system of various populations may help to understand the evolutionary mechanism of this process. We investigated some aspects of the breeding system, diversity and foraging behavior of the visitors, and relationship between population properties and fruit set in three populations from NE Poland. We found distinct compatibility systems in two studied populations and showed that if a population is self-compatible (SC), selfing is mediated by insects via geitonogamous pollen transfer. Despite the population properties (compatibility, visitor diversity and activity, population size, density, or floral display), P. caeruleum is not pollen limited and pollinators are highly important as a key factor determining the high reproductive success. Visitor assemblages (including key pollinators, bumblebees, and honey bees) and their foraging behavior on inflorescences vary between the populations, which may influence differences in the breeding system. The self-incompatible population was visited by a more diverse group of insects from Hymenoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Heteroptera, and Coeloptera, which may favor effective cross-pollen transfer, whereas the SC population was pollinated mainly by Apis mellifera, which may promote mixed-mating. Studies on a wider range of P. caeruleum populations are needed to determine selective factors responsible for compatibility transition.


compatibility system; fruit set; hand-pollination; seed set; visitation rate

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