The arrangement, colour, shape and size of floral parts (collectively floral design) have evolved primarily to promote mating success via animal-mediated pollen transfer. Although numerous studies have examined variation in pollinator assemblages, relatively few have examined patterns of pollen removal and deposition in the presence of fluctuating pollinators and ineffective floral visitors; therefore, net pollen removal and deposition by entire visitor assemblages are unclear. We studied the timing (diurnal or nocturnal) and effects of floral traits on pollen removal and deposition under a dynamic visitor assemblage of Polemonium brandegeei. We quantified pollen grains remaining in anthers (pollen removal) and deposited on stigmas (pollen deposition) of plants visited during either the day (07:30-20:00 h) or night (20:30-07:30 h) in natural populations over two flowering seasons. Pollen removal and deposition occurred both diurnally and nocturnally during our study. Increased diurnal removal and deposition coincided with peak floral visitations in 2006. This increase in pollen removal and deposition may reflect increased visits by pollen consumers, effective hawkmoth pollinators and increased self-pollen deposition due to hot, dry weather. Nonlinear effects of style length significantly affected pollen removal, with less pollen remaining in flowers with intermediate style lengths. Pollen deposition was more complex, with herkogamy and anther height affecting deposition. Further, close proximity of stigmas and anthers increased the potential for sexual interference between pollen removal and deposition. Overall, flower visitations and pollen removal and deposition varied between years and populations, but sex organ placement consistently influenced the removal and deposition of pollen.
- Floral traits
- Pollen removal and deposition
- Sexual interference