Plant Systematics and Evolution
Hedyotis caerulea possesses two distinct floral morphs that are generally found in equal numbers in naturally occurring populations. Flowers either possess a relatively long style and short anthers, called a “pin,” or a short style and long anthers, called a “thrum.” This placement of reproductive organs is considered herkogamous and distylous, as it encourages outcrossing by restricting pollination to individuals of the alternate morph. Numerous species have been described as distylous without quantitative data establishing stigma-anther reciprocity. Here we assess those assumptions in H. caerulea by measuring stigma height, anther height and a suite of additional floral traits across multiple localities. All populations surveyed were isoplethic, although variation among them was present in all floral traits measured as well as for pollen diameter, pollen count, flower dry weight, and seed set. Pins produced smaller pollen than thrums, but made more of them. Thus, the total volume of pollen was similar for pins and thrums, and seed set was similar, suggesting that each morph has equal male and female fitness with no movement towards dioecy. Given a significant degree of variation found in the morphometric analysis, and that two of the three measures used to assess reciprocity were not consistent with predictions of precise symmetry, extensive change is possible where selection is acting on these traits. Even so, the distylous mating system in H. caerulea appears to be stable.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00606-012-0642-4
Sampson D and Krebs R. 2012. Quantitative evaluation of reciprocal herkogamy in the distylous species, hedyotis caerulea (rubiaceae). Plant Syst Evol 298(7):1361-70.