Distyly and variation in floral traits in natural populations of Psychotria ipecacuanha (Brot.) Stokes (Rubiaceae)

Distilia e variação das características florais em populações naturais de Psychotria ipecacuanha (Brot.) Stokes (Rubiaceae)

Psychotria ipecacuanha is a perennial, medicinal herb that grows in clusters in the understory of humid, shady areas of the Atlantic Rain Forest of southeastern Brazil. The present study characterized the variation in floral traits among 35 clusters from three natural populations of this plant species. Field observations showed that the clusters are isomorphic, that is, a given cluster will either set long-styled or short-styled flowers. Stigmas and anthers are reciprocally placed in each morph, a dimorphism characteristic of distyly. The populations are isoplethic, that is, a given population exhibits an equilibrium 1:1 ratio of floral morphs. Morphometric analyses revealed that anther length, stigma length, corolla diameter, and pollen grain diameter were consistently greater in short-styled flowers, regardless of the population investigated. Significant differences for floral traits in the short-styled morph were found among populations. Floral traits in the long-styled morph also showed some significant differences among populations, but not for stigma height and corolla length. Controlled pollinations carried out in natural populations showed that fruit production was higher after inter-morph pollination. Nevertheless, observations of pollen tube growth in style, and also fruit production after spontaneous self-pollination and intra-morph pollination, indicated partial intramorph compatibility in this plant species.

distilia; morfologia floral; plantas medicinais; poaia; Psychotria ipecacuanha


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