Comparative Pollination Ecology of Five European Euphorbia Species

Autor(en)
Julia Asenbaum, Irmgard Schäffler, Florian Etl, Stefan Dötterl, Jürg Schönenberger, Marion Chartier
Abstrakt

Premise of research.?Flowers of the genus Euphorbia are arranged in a unique type of inflorescence called cyathia, packed into more or less dense synflorescences. These synflorescences can be showy or inconspicuous, suggesting different pollination strategies.Methodology.?We described and compared the morphology, color, scent, and insect guilds visiting the synflorescences of five European Euphorbia species, two with inconspicuous synflorescences and three with showy ones.Pivotal results.?All five species present their reproductive structures openly, with easily accessible nectaries. In the inconspicuous E. peplus and E. dulcis, there was little color contrast between the reproductive parts and the vegetative parts. Both species attracted low numbers of insects (Diptera and Hymenoptera), and these insects carried little (E. peplus) or no (E. dulcis) pollen. We did not detect any floral scent for E. peplus. In the showy E. amygdaloides, E. virgata, and E. verrucosa, the color of the reproductive parts and of the relatively large nectaries was standing out clearly against vegetative organs. These species attracted up to 14 times more insects (Diptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera) than the inconspicuous species, and these insects carried larger amounts of pollen on their bodies. In E. verrucosa, nearly half of the pollinators were sawflies from the genus Tenthredo feeding and mating on the synflorescences. All Euphorbia species except E. peplus were also visited by ants. However, the role of ants as pollinators remains to be tested. Finally, E. peplus and E. dulcis can reproduce without insect pollination, whereas among the showy species, E. virgata did not produce seeds when pollinators were excluded.Conclusions.?We found that all study species had similar generalist pollination systems, with the showy species attracting significantly more insects and the inconspicuous species being largely independent of insect visits for reproduction. Our study tentatively indicates that the degree of entomophily seems positively correlated with showiness and size of attractive and rewarding organs.

Organisation(en)
Department für Botanik und Biodiversitätsforschung
Externe Organisation(en)
Paris-Lodron Universität Salzburg, Universität Wien
Journal
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Band
182
Seiten
763-777
Anzahl der Seiten
15
ISSN
1058-5893
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1086/715759
Publikationsdatum
12-2021
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
106008 Botanik, 106042 Systematische Botanik, 106012 Evolutionsforschung
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/comparative-pollination-ecology-of-five-european-euphorbia-species(74ac36b3-80b5-4a6a-8487-f2aad2a9f1b4).html