Reproduction in polemonium: Patterns and implications of floral nectar production and standing crops

Michael Zimmerman, Graham H. Pyke

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Patterns of floral nectar production and standing crop were measured in four populations of the herbaceous perennial plant species Polemonium foliosissimum. Contrary to prediction (Pleasants, 1983), individual flowers in this mass-flowering species were found to produce equivalent nectar volumes every day of their lives. Alternative methods of increasing the reward variability presented to pollinators are evaluated for P. foliosissimum and the relationship between that variability and risk-aversive foraging by pollinators is discussed. Significant spatial and temporal variability in rate of nectar production was found. Populations separated by approximately 200 m exhibited different rates. Nectar production declined significantly as a function of time of the flowering season in two populations but not in a third. In spite of such variability, individual plants showed consistency in production both within a single blooming season and across successive seasons. Because of the variability found in the present study, care should be taken to design appropriate sampling protocols in future nectar studies. Patterns of standing nectar crop were consistent with those expected if pollinators were using an area-restricted searching pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1415
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


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