Pollination biology of the sclerophyllous shrub Pultenaea villosa Willd. (Fabaceae) in southeast Queensland, Australia
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The pollination biology of the common shrub Pultenaea villosa Willd. was examined in a subtropical dry sclerophyll forest in eastern Australia. We determined floral phenology and morphology, the timing of stigma receptivity and anther dehiscence, nectar availability, the plant breeding system, and flower visitors. The shrub's flowers are typical zygomorphic pea flowers with hidden floral rewards and reproductive structures. These flowers require special manipulation for insect access. A range of insects visited the flowers, although bees are predicted to be the principle pollinators based on their frequency on the flowers and their exclusive ability to operate the wing and keel petals to access the reproductive structures. Nectar and pollen are offered as rewards and were actively collected by bees. Nectar is offered to visitors in minute amounts at the base of the corolla. In Toohey Forest, P. villosa flowers in spring and is the most abundant floral resource in the understory of the forest at this time. The breeding system experiment revealed that P. villosa requires outcrossing for high levels of seed set and that the overlap of stigma receptivity and pollen dehiscence within the flower suggests the potential for self-incompatibility.
Plant Species Biology