Fecundity and fitness in cross-compatible pollinations of tristylous North American Lythrum salicaria populations

N. O. Anderson, P. D. Ascher

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As heterostyly and self incompatibility are linked in tristylous L. salicaria, all cross-compatible pollinations - those between anthers and styles of the same level - should produce viable seed. The rigor of this theory was tested using seed set and germination of cross-compatible pollinations in 18 naturalized L. salicaria populations in Minnesota/Wisconsin (n=342 genotypes; n=86 shorts, n=127 mids, and n=129 longs). Seed set for short-styled genotypes ranged from zero to 135 (36±38); raids-0-156, (53±39), and longs-0-151 (59±39). Mean seed set per capsule was not significantly different for mids and longs, but both were significantly greater than that of shorts (F= 14, P<0.0001). Zero seed set frequently occurred in most compatible crosses, in contrast with theoretical expectations. The high percentage of populations deviating from normality must be due to incompatibility. An incompatibility system independent of heterostyly could cause this, where failed crosses result from matches of incompatibility speCificities in pollen and pistil. This independence is questionable, however, given the non-significant difference in failed outcrosses for pooled χ2 comparing within and between populations (χ2=0.395, P>0.5). A sporophytic incompatibility model is proposed with a minimum of three specificities. Zero seed set in compatible crosses is due to the addition of alleles from L. alatum, a distylous species that forms introgressive hybrids with L. saIicaria. Reduced fecundity could increase the deficiency of shorts, and significantly greater seed germination of shorts could explain the continued presence of short-styled individuals in L. saIicaria populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-843
Number of pages14
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Germination
  • Heterostyly
  • Lythrum
  • Seed set
  • Self incompatibility


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