Floral traits and pollination ecology of European Arum hybrids

Marion Chartier, Suzanne Liagre, Hanna Weiss-Schneeweiss, Bozena Kolano, Jean-Marie Bessière, Jürg Schönenberger, Marc Gibernau

Hybridisation is common in plants and can affect the genetic diversity and ecology of sympatric parental populations. Hybrids may resemble the parental species in their ecology, leading to competition and/or gene introgression; alternatively, they may diverge from the parental phenotypes, possibly leading to the colonisation of new ecological niches and to speciation. Here, we describe inflorescence morphology, ploidy levels, pollinator attractive scents, and pollinator guilds of natural hybrids of Arum italicum and A. maculatum (Araceae) from a site with sympatric parental populations in southern France to determine how these traits affect the hybrid pollination ecology. Hybrids were characterised by inflorescences with a size and a number of flowers more similar to A. italicum than to A. maculatum. In most cases, hybrid stamens were purple, as in A. maculatum, and spadix appendices yellow, as in A. italicum. Hybrid floral scent was closer to that of A. italicum, but shared some compounds with A. maculatum and comprised unique compounds. Also, the pollinator guild of the hybrids was similar to that of A. italicum. Nevertheless, the hybrids attracted a high proportion of individuals of the main pollinator of A. maculatum. We discuss the effects of hybridisation in sympatric parental zones in which hybrids exhibit low levels of reproductive success, the establishment of reproductive barriers between parental species, the role of the composition of floral attractive scents in the differential attraction of pollinators and in the competition between hybrids and their parental species, and the potential of hybridisation to give rise to new independent lineages.

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
External organisation(s)
Université Lille I - Sciences et Technologies, University of Silesia in Katowice, Université de Corse Pasquale Paoli - Campus Grimaldi, Université Montpellier 2
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106008 Botany
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