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Pollinators and corolla shape robustness in Brassicaceae

How pollinators may influence the integration and developmental robustness of angiosperm flowers is still unknown. Using geometric morphometrics, Gómez et al. studied the evolution of the phenotypic variation, disparity and integration of the corolla in 111 Brassicaceae, and explored the role of pollinators in mediating its evolution.

Phylogenetic relationships of the Brassicaceae taxa included in this study.
Phylogenetic relationships of the Brassicaceae taxa included in this study. Image by Gómez et al.(2016)

Floral integration and robustness were evolutionary labile and varied among pollination niches. Whereas plants visited by efficient bees and beeflies displayed integrated corollas, those visited by nocturnal moths had corollas with high phenotypic variation and disparity. This suggests that pollinators can influence the evolution of important developmental attributes of the corolla even in plants with generalized pollination systems and conserved floral bauplans.

Written by Annals of Botany Office

The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Oxford.

Inflorescence of a member of Calyceraceae showing an ant crawling among the florets.

Origin of the bifurcating style in Asteraceae

Plants

Whither botanical accuracy? ***