Unfavourable pollination environments promote evolution of a stable mixed reproductive system in angiosperms

Self-incompatible plants were less frequent in populations with consistently worse pollination environment, suggesting that reproductive assurance selects for selfing in these areas.

Recent theoretical studies have shown that mixed reproductive systems in angiosperms can be stable, but empirical data to confirm this hypothesis are still scarce. Arista et al. study four populations of Hypochaeris salzmanniana (Asteraceae) during two consecutive years.

They find that self-compatibility increases when the pollination environment is uncertain, conferring reproductive assurance when pollinator attendance is low. The mixed reproductive system of H. salzmanniana appears to be an evolutionarily stable strategy, with year-to-year changes in self-incompatibility expression deriving directly from the balance between reproductive assurance and inbreeding depression.


The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Oxford.

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