TitleIs the colour dimorphism in Dactylorhiza sambucina maintained by differential seed viability instead of frequency-dependent selection?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsJersakova, J, Kindlmann, P, Renner, SS
JournalFolia Geobotanica

The European rewardless, bee-pollinated orchid Dactylorhiza sambucina commonly produces yellow-flowered and purple-flowered individuals in frequencies that range from balanced (per population) to very unbalanced, with parts of the species’ range entirely monochromatic. We studied male and female reproductive success of the two morphs in 22 populations in the Czech Republic, relating it to morph frequency, population size and density, and presence and abundance of yellow and purple co-flowering nectar-providing species visited by the same bee species. Cumulative abundances of yellow nectar-producing co-flowering species (of which, on average, Primula veris made tip 56%) had a negative effect on male reproductive success of the yellow morph, and spectral analyses showed that to bumblebees the colours of P. veris and yellow D. sambucina are different, permitting ready visual discrimination. The cumulative abundance of purple co-flowering species had no significant effect on morph reproductive success. Morph frequencies were unrelated to reproductive success and population size, and there was no evidence of frequency-dependent selection except in one highly unbalanced population. Density of flowering conspecifics was negatively correlated with male reproductive success of the purple morph. Seed mass, viability, and germination success depended on whether seeds resulted from outcrossed or selfed matings and on morph colour. Selfed seeds and seeds produced by the yellow morph from yellow X yellow and yellow X purple crosses had zero germination (after three months), providing the first hint that differential vegetative fitness, rather than differential reproductive fitness via pollinator selection, may explain morph frequencies in D. samucina.