Within the theoretical framework of the correlation pleiades, floral phenotypic integration has been proposed as a consequence of selection mediated by pollinators acting on floral characters. Here, we analyzed that assumption by studying the floral biology and pollination of the late-winter species Narcissus bulbocodium
L. We found that the flowers of N. bulbocodium
are pollinator-dependent (mainly on Bombus terrestris
) in terms of achieving optimal levels of seed production (xenogamy mean seed-to-ovule ratio 64%). Flowers are phenotypically integrated, and only the inclusion of the stigma within the corona seems to have a positive and significant influence on the deposition of the pollen. It has been hypothesized that by including the stigma within the corolla, the flower has some control over the contact between stigma and pollinators that could lead to an “ordered herkogamy” as a way to promote outcross and avoid self-interference. Therefore, herkogamy was also studied, and while most previous studies have assessed the evolutionary significance of herkogamy by considering its relationship with outcrossing rates, we approach this phenomenon from a novel direction assessing the relationship between a proxy for herkogamy and the precision of the pollination process. Our results seem to support the existence of an optimal herkogamy distance that could maintain maximum levels of both pollen export and (cross) pollen capture. On the basis of the broad variability of herkogamy that we have found in N. bulbocodium
and other data in the literature, we discuss the universality of the adaptive origin of herkogamy.
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