Trait correlates and functional significance of heteranthery in flowering plants


Vallejo-Marin M, Da Silva EM, Sargent RD & Barrett SCH (2010) Trait correlates and functional significance of heteranthery in flowering plants. New Phytologist, 188 (2), pp. 418-425.

Flowering plants display extraordinary diversity in the morphology of male sexual organs, yet the functional significance of this variation is not well understood. Here, we conducted a comparative analysis of floral correlates of heteranthery – the morphological and functional differentiation of anthers within flowers – among angiosperm families to identify traits associated with this condition. • We performed a phylogenetic analysis of correlated evolution between heteranthery and several floral traits commonly reported from heterantherous taxa. In addition, we quantified the effect of phylogenetic uncertainty in the observed patterns of correlated evolution by comparing trees in which polytomous branches were randomly resolved. • Heteranthery is reported from 12 angiosperm orders and is phylogenetically associated with the absence of floral nectaries, buzz-pollination and enantiostyly (mirror-image flowers). These associations are robust to particularities of the underlying phylogenetic hypothesis. • Heteranthery has probably evolved as a result of pollinator-mediated selection and appears to function to reduce the conflict of relying on pollen both as food to attract pollinators and as the agent of male gamete transfer. The relative scarcity of heteranthery among angiosperm families suggests that the conditions permitting its evolution are not easily met despite the abundance of pollen-collecting bees and nectarless flowers.

buzz-pollination; division of labour; heteranthery; phylogenetic analysis; stamen differentiation; Pollination by bees; Insects Ecology; Plants Reproduction; Plants, Sex in; Plants Evolution

New Phytologist: Volume 188, Issue 2

Publication date31/10/2010
Publication date online31/08/2010
PublisherWiley-Blackwell / New Phytologist Trust