Background and Aims
Secondary pollen presentation (SPP), a floral mechanism of reproductive adaptation, has been described for more than 200 years, with nine types SPP recorded. However, few studies have been done experimentally to link the floral mechanism of SPP to its functional roles in pollination process. This study aims to describe a new SPP mechanism from a wild ginger (Zingiber densissimum, Zingiberaceae) and explore how the pollen arrangement of SPP affects pollen removal during the interaction with different pollinators.
Field observations and experiments revealed that flowers lasted for less than one day. The breeding system was partially self-incompatible. Two bee species, Macropis hedini (which carried pollen dorsally) and Amegilla zonata (which carried pollen ventrally) were the primary pollinators. About a third of pollen grains were relocated from the anther to the labellum staminode of flowers through the adherence of aggregated pollen chains, while other grains were presented on the anther. In a single visit, each bee species removed pollen grains from both the labellum staminode and the anther. Macropis hedini was more effective than Amegilla zonata.
Our study describes a new SPP mechanism in angiosperms. The new SPP mode enables pollen grains presented on the anther and the labellum staminode simultaneously via the adherence of aggregated pollen chains, thus promoting pollen to be taken away by different pollinators. This SPP mechanism plays a key role during pollen removal and may have evolved under the pressure to improve male fitness.