eMonocot Cyperaceae

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The consequences of monoecy and protogyny for mating in wind-pollinated Carex

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Friedman, J., Barrett S. C. H.
Journal:New Phytologist
Keywords:allozyme variation, clonal diversity, Cyperaceae, decodon verticillatus lythraceae, dicliny, flowering plants, geitonogamy, genetic differentiation, inbreeding depression, monoecy, phylogenetic analysis, protogyny, reproductive assurance, sedges carex, self-fertilization, wind pollination

Monoecy and protogyny are widespread in wind-pollinated plants and have been interpreted as outcrossing mechanisms, though few studies have investigated their function. Carex, a large genus of anemophilous herbs, is predominantly monoecious and many species are protogynous. We investigated whether monoecy and protogyny limit self-pollination in seven Carex species. We conducted field experiments comparing stigmatic pollen loads and seed set between intact and emasculated stems. We tested for self-compatibility and evaluated pollen limitation of seed set by supplemental pollination. Finally, we measured outcrossing rates in open-pollinated and emasculated stems using allozyme markers. Emasculated stems captured significantly less pollen than open-pollinated stems and set less seed. Pollen deposition during the female-only phase for intact stems was only 12% of the total captured. Outcrossing rates for three species indicated high selfing (range t = 0.03-0.39). Allozyme loci in the remaining species were monomorphic also suggesting high selfing. These results demonstrate that neither monoecy nor protogyny is particularly effective at limiting self-fertilization. Selection for the avoidance of selfing is unlikely to maintain monoecy in many Carex species although protogyny may provide limited opportunities for outcrossing. We propose that geitonogamy in self-compatible wind-pollinated species with unisexual flowers may be widespread and provides reproductive assurance. New Phytologist (2009) 181: 489-497doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02664.x.

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