TitlePatterns of pollinator-generated fruit set in Orchis morio (Orchidaceae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsJersakova, J, Kindlmann, P
JournalFolia Geobotanica

Reproductive success of a deceptive species, Orchis morio, was investigated in relation to floral display, vertical position of fruits and dispersion pattern. A caging experiment confirmed the necessity of the presence of insect vectors for fruit development. In two Czech populations studied in 1997, insect-pollinated plants had on average 27.3 and 38% fruit set, compared to 96.7% for flowers pollinated by hand. Floral display (number of flowers per spike) was expected to positively affect the probability of pollinator visit. However, fruit set (number of fruits per spike) did nor increase linearly with increasing floral display, but rose sigmoidally and approached an asymptotic value. Floral display enhanced reproductive success (fruit/flower ratio) up to a certain number of flowers (11-14), above which the relationship started to decrease and only increased the probability of production of at least one fruit. We also studied the effect of flower position within an inflorescence on the probability of being pollinated and we counted the number of seeds per capsule. A rapid decline in fruit set from the bottom to the top of the inflorescence observed probably reflects the behaviour of pollinators. The number of seeds per one capsule varied from 550 to 12 270. In addition, individuals growing in large clumps or isolated had lower reproductive success than those growing in small clumps. This result implies the existence of an intraspecific competition for pollinators and on the other hand inability of isolated individuals to attract a large number of pollinators.