Andromonoecy in Solanum lycocarpum A. St. -Hil. (Solanaceae): Floral attributes, visitors and variation in sexual expression over time


Marcelo VG, de Brito VLG, Vallejo-Marín M & Consolaro H (2021) Andromonoecy in Solanum lycocarpum A. St. -Hil. (Solanaceae): Floral attributes, visitors and variation in sexual expression over time. Plant Species Biology, 36 (2), pp. 308-321.

Sexual expression in andromonoecious species—those in which a single individual can bear both staminate and hermaphroditic flowers—may vary among reproductive events in the same plant, among individuals and across populations. This variation influences, in turn, the individual contribution of hermaphroditic plants via male and female fitness functions (i.e., Lloydʼs phenotypic gender). However, temporal variation in sexual expression in andromonoecious species and its relationship with seasonal changes in climatic conditions remain poorly understood. Here we analyze floral attributes, visitors and variation in sexual expression in three populations of Solanum lycocarpum A. St. ‐Hil. Seasonality in the production of floral types, the mating system and floral visitors were also investigated. Hermaphroditic flowers produced more pollen grains, but the pollen of staminate flowers had higher viability. Only hermaphroditic flowers produced fruits, and ovules in staminate flowers were sterile. Solanum lycocarpum is mainly pollinated by large bees with the ability to vibrate flowers. Phenotypic gender varied throughout the year, and the seasonal production of staminate flowers is associated with the local climate. We suggest that the higher and seasonally variable relative abundance of staminate flowers compared to the low and uniform production of hermaphroditic flowers may be explained by (a) the very high energetic costs incurred in producing large fruits, which in turn make hermaphroditic flower production very costly, and (b) the potentially lower energy expenditure of the smaller staminate flowers with reduced pistils and non‐viable ovules that allow them to rapidly respond to climate variability.

buzz pollination; Cerrado; reproductive biology; sexual expression; sexual system

Plant Species Biology: Volume 36, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2021
Publication date online28/02/2021
Date accepted by journal28/12/2020