The floral biology of Ondinea purpurea, consisting of an apetalous subspecies and a newly discovered petaloid subspecies, has been investigated. Anthesis occurs over a 3-day period. First-day flowers are protogynous and characterized by colourful reflexed perianth and stamina1 parts. The pollen-receptive stigmas of first-day flowers secrete a fluid that fills the small stigmatic cup. As potential pollinators are attracted and attempt to land on the distally exposed gynoecium, they contact the stigmatic fluid which loosens pollen from the insect’s body and pollination is achieved. Second- and third-day flowers are functionally staminate. On the basis of comparative reproductive anatomy and pollination syndromes the placement of Ondinea in the Nymphaeaceae s. str. is supported.
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I am indebted to Tom Farrell and Pam Ruppin of C.R.A. Services, Melbourne, for arranging charter flights, board and room, and helicopter service while stationed at the Mitchell Plateau Mining Camp; to the Western Australian biological survey team, I am also indebted for their goodwill and friendship. Additional thanks are extended to Dr Irene Baker for the nectar analysis; Dr B. J. D. Meeuse for conducting the sugar determinations and reviewing the manuscript; Dr Terry Houston, W.A. Museum, for all insect identifications; and Drs M. F. Moseley and Peter Bernhardt for their review of the manuscript. I owe a special debt to Kevin F. Kenneally, W. A. Herbarium, for alerting me to the extended distribution of 0. purpurea and for his continuing cooperation and friendship: to him I dedicate this paper. The research was supported by National Science Foundation grant DEB-8102041.