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Brazilian Journal of Botany
On-line version ISSN 1806-9959
PANSARIN, Emerson R. and AMARAL, Maria do Carmo E.. Reproductive biology and pollination of two species of Polystachya Hook. in southeastern Brazil: evidence of pseudocleistogamy in Polystachyeae (Orchidaceae). Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.3, pp. 423-432. ISSN 1806-9959. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042006000300009.
Phenology, floral biology, pollinators, breeding system and natural fruit set of Polystachya estrellensis Rchb. f. and P. concreta (Jacq.) Garay & H. R. Sweet were studied in mesophytic forests at Serra do Japi, and in mangroves at a seashore plain at Picinguaba, respectively. Both study areas are natural reserves in southeastern Brazil. Both species flower in summer, are epiphytes and produce terminal inflorescences with up to 150 non-resupinate flowers. The flowers produce a citric fragrance, mainly in the warmest hours of the day. Both species are pollinated by solitary and social small native bees, which collect pseudopollen from the lip of the flowers. The pollinarium is placed frontally on the head of the bees, when they are collecting pseudopollen. Polystachya estrellensis and P. concreta are self-compatible. The majority of flowers of P. estrellensis (96,7%) is cleistogamous, while P. concreta produces only chasmogamous flowers. The cleistogamous flowers of P. estrellensis present dimensions and number of floral elements identical to the chasmogamous, a phenomenon called pseudocleistogamy. The chasmogamous flowers of P. estrellensis, as well as all flowers of P. concreta are pollinator dependent. The natural fruit set of P. estrellensis was higher than that of P. concreta as a consequence of pseudocleistogamy. In mesophytic forests of the Serra do Japi, in which the fruit set of several orchid species is low, mainly because of pollinator scarcity, the strategy presented by P. estrellensis is an important factor that increases the reproductive success of this species, compared with to the non-autogamous members of Epidendroideae that occur in the same region.
Keywords : cleistogamy; Orchidaceae; Polystachya; pseudopollen; reproductive biology.