Pollen: ovule ratio and its relationship with other reproductive traits in some Passiflora species (Passifloraceae)


  • María Teresa Amela García DBBE, FCEyN, Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • María Belén Miguez DBBE, FCEyN, Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • Gerhard Gottsberger Botanical Garden and Herbarium, University of Ulm




pollen size, pollen vitality, breeding systems, flower size, stigma area, pollen-bearing area, pollinators, anthesis, plant longevity, sexual system


The pollen/ovule (P/O) ratio has been used as predictor of the reproductive system of angiosperms (lowest P/O values correspond to obligate autogamous species while the highest correlate with obligate xenogamous species) but it does not keep for all the taxa. The relation of P/O index with pollen and stigma size, flower diameter, pollen vitality, stigmatic area/pollen-bearing area of the pollinators ratio (SA/PBA), taxonomy and breeding system was analyzed in four Passiflora species with different degree of compatibility, pollination system and taxonomic placement. P/O of the self-compatible species (with shorter anthesis, scarce pollinator visits or minor longevity) was lower than P/O of the self-incompatible ones. The P/O values of the outcrossers could be related with the highly efficient pollination performed by the frequently visiting Xylocopa species; these bees transport Passiflora pollen in a usually monospecific mass on the thorax, resembling grouped pollen dispersal. All the taxa exhibited pollen with unimodal size and high vitality, except for P. misera, in which pollen size was bimodal, with similar quantities of grains in both classes, the large being more vital than the small ones. Correlations of P/O were positive with flower size, negative with stigma area/pollen-bearing area of the pollinator, null with stigma area and not significant with pollen size. The P/O ratio did not reflect taxonomic affinities; this index and the breeding system were more related with pollinator type, anthesis, flower size and SA/PBA than with pollen grain or stigma size.


Download data is not yet available.


Affre, L. & Thompson, J.D. 1998. Floral trait variation in four Cyclamen (Primulaceae) species. Plant Systematics and Evolution 212: 279-293. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01089743

Aizen, M.A. & Rovere, A.E. 1995. Does pollen viability decrease with aging? A cross-population examination in Austrocedrus chilensis (Cupressaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 156: 227-231. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/297244

Amela García, M.T. 1999. Biología floral y sistema reproductivo de especies nativas de Passiflora (Passifloraceae) de la Argentina. Ph. D. Dissertation, Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Amela García, M.T. 2008. Breeding system and related floral features of Passiflora suberosa (Passifloraceae) under natural and experimental conditions in Argentina. Boletín de la Sociedad Argentina de Botánica 43: 83-93.

Amela García, M.T. & Hoc P.S. 1997. Floral biology and reproductive system of Passiflora caerulea (Passifloraceae). Beitrage zur Biologie der Pflanzen 70: 1-20.

Amela García, M.T. & Hoc P.S. 1998a. Biología floral de Passiflora foetida (Passifloraceae). Revista de Biología Tropical 46: 9-20.

Amela García, M.T. & Hoc P.S. 1998b. Aspectos de la biología floral y el sistema reproductivo de Passiflora mooreana (Passifloraceae). Darwiniana 35: 9-27.

Amela García M.T. & Hoc P.S. 2001. Pollination of Passiflora: do different pollinators serve species belonging to different subgenera? Acta Horticulturae 561: 71-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2001.561.10

Amela García, M.T. & Hoc, P.S. 2011. Pollination mechanisms in Passiflora species: the common and the rare flowers. Ecological aspects and implications for horticulture. In: Raskin, N.D., Vuturro, P. T. (eds.), Pollination: Mechanisms, Ecology and Agricultural Advances: 33-55. Nova Science Publishers. New York.

Amela García, M.T., Galati, B.G. & Anton, A.M.R. 2002. Microsporogenesis, microgametogenesis and pollen morphology of Passiflora spp. (Passifloraceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 139: 383-394. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1095-8339.2002.00072.x

Chouteau, M., Barabé, D. & Gibernau, M. 2006. Pollen-ovule ratios in some Neotropical Araceae and their putative significance. Plant Systematics and Evolution 257: 147-157. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00606-005-0328-2

Christ, K.D., Dieterle, A. & Gottsberger, G. 2001. Pollinators, pollen ovule ratio and the extent of cross- versus self-fertilization in the groundlayer of a spring wildflower community in a Central European forest. Phytomorphology 51: 529-540.

Cruden, R.W. 1977. Pollen-ovule ratios: a conservative indicator of breeding systems in flowering plants. Evolution: 31: 32-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2407542

Cruden, R.W. 1997. Implications of evolutionary theory to applied pollination ecology. Acta Horticulturae 437: 27-51. http://dx.doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1997.437.1

Cruden, R.W. 2000. Pollen grains: why so many? Plant Systematics and Evolution 222: 143-165. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00984100

Cruden, R W. & Miller-Ward, S. 1981. Pollen-ovule ratio, pollen size, and the ratio of stigmatic area to the pollen-bearing area of the pollinator: an hypothesis. Evolution 35: 964-974. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2407867

Devoto, M. & Medán, D. 2008. Expected mating system, floral diversity and flower visitors of five species of Iridaceae of the Argentine pampas. Acta Botanica Venezuelica 31: 425-434.

Erdtman, G. 1952. Pollen morphology and plant taxonomy. Angiosperms. The Chronica Botanica Co. Waltham. Mass.

Etcheverry, A.V., Alemán, M.M., Figueroa-Fleming, T., López-Spahr, D., Gómez, C.A., Yá-ez, C., Figueroa-Castro, D.M. & Ortega-Baes, P. 2012. Pollen:ovule ratio and its relationship with other floral traits in Papilionoidea (Leguminosae): an evaluation with Argentine species. Plant Biology 14: 171-178. PMid:21972837

Feuillet, C. & MacDougal, J.M. 2004. Systematics. In: Ulmer, T., MacDougal, J.M. (eds.), Passiflora. Passionflowers of the World. 27-31. Timber Press. Cambridge.

Galloni, M., Podda, L., Vivarelli, D. & Cristofolini, G. 2007. Pollen presentation, pollen-ovule ratios, and other reproductive traits in Mediterranean legumes (Fabaceae- Faboideae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 266: 147-164. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00606-007-0526-1

Götzenberger, L., Durka, W., Ku.hn, I. & Klotz, S. 2006. The relationship between the pollen–ovule ratio and seed size: a comparative test of a sex allocation hypothesis. Evolutionary Ecology Research 8: 1101-1116.

Götzenberger, L., Durka, W., Ku.hn, I., Klotz, S. 2007. The relationship between pollen size and the pollen-ovule ratio. Another comparative test of sex allocation theory. Evolutionary Ecology Research 9: 1145-1161.

Götzenberger, L., Ku.hn, I., Klotz S. (2008) Effects of habitat disturbance and pollination type on the interspecific variation in pollen-ovule ratios. Preslia 80: 423-437.

Graumann, S. & Gottsberger, G. 1988. Reproductive strategies in allogamous and autogamous Senecio species. Lagascalia 15: 673-679.

Greissl, R. 1989. Vitality analysis of monadic and polyadic pollen grains using optical contrast-fluorescent microscopy. Scientific and Technical Informations 15: 180-184.

Hoc, P.S. & Amela García, M.T. 1998. Floral biology and reproductive system of Phaseolus augusti (Fabaceae). Beitrage zur Biologie der Pflanzen 70: 121-140.

Hoc, P.S. & Amela García, M.T. 1999. Biología floral y sistema reproductivo de Phaseolus vulgaris var. aborigineus (Fabaceae). Revista Biología Tropical 47: 59-67.

Hoc, P. S., Amela García, M.T. & Palacios, R.A. 1995. Functional andromonoecy in Prosopis alba (Mimosaceae). The effect of abiotic and biotic factors on the reproductive system. Beitrage zur Biologie der Pflanzen 69: 191-218.

Hokche, D.O. & Ramírez, N. 2008. Sistemas reproductivos en especies de Melastomataceae en la Gran sabana (Estado Bolívar, Venezuela). Acta Botanica Venezuelica 31: 387-408. Infostat. 2009. Infostat for Windows: base system user's guide, release 9.0. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.

Kerns, C.A. & Inouye, D.W. 1993. Techniques for pollination biologists. Colorado University Press. Colorado.

Jürgens, A., Witt, T. & Gottsberger, G. 2002. Pollen grain numbers, ovule numbers and pollen-ovule ratios in Caryophylloideae: correlation with breeding system, pollination, life form, style number, and sexual system. Sexual Plant Reproduction 14: 279-289. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00497-001-0124-2

Jürgens, A., Witt, T. & Gottsberger, G. 2012. Pollen grain size variation in Caryophylloideae: a mixed strategy for pollen deposition along styles with long stigmatic areas? Plant Systematics and Evolution 298: 9-24.

Lehnebach, C. & Riveros, M. 2003. Pollination biology of the Chilean endemic orchid Chloraea lamellata. Biodiversity and Conservation 12: 1741-1751. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1023666800948

Lindsey, A.H. 1982. Floral phenology patterns and breeding systems in Thaspium and Zizia (Apiaceae). Systematic Botany 7: 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2418648

López, J., Rodríguez-Ria-o, T., Ortega-Olivencia, A., Devesa, J.A. & Ruiz, T. 1999. Pollination mechanisms and pollen-ovule ratios in some Genisteae from Southwestern Europe. Plant Systematics and Evolution 216: 23-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00985099

Medan, D. 2003. Reproductive Biology of the Andean Shrub Discaia nana (Rhamnaceae). Plant Biology 5: 94-102. http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-2003-37980

Ortega Olivencia, A. & Devesa Alcaraz, J.A. 1993. Sexual reproduction in some Scrophularia species (Scrophulariaceae) from the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. Plant Systematics and Evolution 184: 159-174. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00937433

Ortega Olivencia, A., Ramos, S., Rodríguez, T. & Devesa Alcaraz, J.A. 1997. Floral biometry, floral rewards and pollen-ovule ratios in some Vicia from Extremadura, Spain. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 54: 39-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0960428600003851

Pijl, L van der. 1954. Xylocopa and flowers in the tropics. I. Proceedings of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen C 57: 413-423.

Plitmann, U. & Levin, D.A. 1990. Breeding systems in Polemoniaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution 170: 205-214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00937704

Preston, R.E. 1986. Pollen-ovule ratios in the Cruciferae. American Journal of Botany 73: 1732-1740. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2444239

Roitman, G.G. & Medán, D. 1994. La autogamia predomina en pastizales húmedos de la depresión del Salado, provincia de Buenos Aries. In: VI Congreso Latinoamericano de Botánica. Asociación Latinoamericana de Botánica. Libro de resúmenes: 594. Mar del Plata.

Schoen, D.J. 1977. Morphological, phenological, and pollen-distribution evidence of autogamy and xenogamy in Gilia achilleifolia (Polemoniaceae). Systematic Botany 2: 280-286. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2418460

Small, E. 1988. Pollen-ovule patterns in tribe Trifolieae. Plant Systematics and Evolution 160: 195-205. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00936047

Spira, T.P. 1980. Floral parameters, breeding system and pollinator type in Trichostema (Labiatae). American Journal of Botany 67: 278-284. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2442337

Weller, S.G., Sakai, A.K., Rankin, A.E., Golonka, A., Kutcher, B. & Ashby, K.E. 1998. Dioecy and the evolution of pollination systems in Schiedea and Alsinidendron (Caryophyllaceae: Alsinoideae) in the Hawaiian islands. American Journal of Botany 85: 1377-1388. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2446396 PMid:21684891

Wild, J.D., Mayer, E. & Gottsberger, G. 2003. Pollination and reproduction of Tussilago farfara (Asteraceae). Botanische Jahrbu.cher fu.r Systematik 124: 273-285.

Wyatt, R. 1984. Evolution of self-pollination in granite outcrop species of Arenaria Caryophyllaceae). III. Reproductive effort and pollen-ovule ratios. Systematic Botany 9: 432-440. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2418792

Wyatt, R., Broyles, S.B. & Lipow, S.R. 2000. Pollen-ovule ratios in milkweeds Asclepiadaceae): an exception that probes the rule. Systematic Botany 25: 171-180.




How to Cite

Amela García, M. T., Miguez, M. B., & Gottsberger, G. (2014). Pollen: ovule ratio and its relationship with other reproductive traits in some Passiflora species (Passifloraceae). Anales Del Jardín Botánico De Madrid, 71(2), e009. https://doi.org/10.3989/ajbm.2360