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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Plant Systematics: Angiosperm Working Group - Prof. Dr. Sigrid Liede-Schumann

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Piechowski, D; Dötterl, S; Gottsberger, G: Pollination biology and floral scent chemistry of the Neotropical chiropterophilous Parkia pendula, Plant Biology, 12, 172-182 (2010)
During the past several decades, the pollination biology of Old World plant species pollinated by flying foxes and of New World plants pollinated by highly specialized nectar-feeding glossophagine bats has been studied in detail. However, little is known about Neotropical plants that are pollinated by less specialized phyllostomid bats. Therefore, we studied the pollination biology of Parkia pendula, a tree pollinated by Phyllostomus. Flowers of P. pendula are arranged in capitula, and a capitulum is composed of approximately 800 hermaphrodite flowers and 260 sterile flowers. The sterile flowers produced a total of 7.4 ml nectar per night, with a sugar concentration of 14.95%, and proline as the dominant amino acid. Nectar production is highest at dusk and ends at 03:00 h. The floral scent is dominated by monoterpenoids (97.9%), with (E)-b-ocimene being the dominant (84.0%) compound. No sulfur compounds were detected. The capitula are heavily visited by four species of phyllostomid bats, of which Phyllostomus discolor is the most abundant (98.9%). Nectar production per capitulum is within the reported range of nectar produced by this pantropical genus (5.0–8.0 ml). This genus-wide range seems to be optimal for attracting nonspecialized nectar-feeding bats and forces them to visit capitula of several trees to satisfy their dietary needs, thus increasing the probability of cross-pollination for this plant.
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