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Reproductive Assurance and the Evolution of Pollination Specialization

Charles B. Fenster and Silvana Martén‐Rodríguez
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Vol. 168, No. 2 (February 2007), pp. 215-228
DOI: 10.1086/509647
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/509647
Page Count: 14
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Reproductive Assurance and the Evolution of Pollination Specialization
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Abstract

Flowers with highly specialized pollination systems sometimes have the ability to self‐pollinate, contradicting our notion that pollination specialization reflects selective pressures to ensure high maternal outcrossing rates. We survey the literature (80 species representing 38 families) for the simultaneous study of pollination and breeding systems. We demonstrate that pollination specialization is often associated with a variety of floral traits that facilitate delayed autonomous selfing at the end of the flower’s life span. While the potential autonomous selfing rate can be high, the actual autonomous selfing rate is often much lower, indicating that species in our survey are facultative selfers. Autonomous selfing was more commonly associated with protandry than with protogyny and was found in both herkogamous and nonherkogamous species. We conclude that pollination specialization can evolve independently of the ability to autonomously self‐pollinate and that the presence of floral traits that promote pollination specialization and autonomous selfing in the same flower is not paradoxical. Pollination specialization can be reconciled with autonomous self‐pollination when selective forces other than high maternal outcrossing rates are considered.

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