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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2007

Pollen donor identity affects timing of stigma receptivity in Collinsia heterophylla (Plantaginaceae): A sexual conflict during pollen competition?

Lankinen, Åsa; Kiboi, Samuel


Theory predicts that, during pollen competition, selection may favor a pollen trait that increases donor competitive ability at the expense of the female reproductive function. One such pollen trait could be manipulation of the onset of stigma receptivity. We evaluated the potential occurrence of this kind of sexual conflict by testing female control of the timing of stigma receptivity in the self-compatible annual Collinsia heterophylla. By performing one-donor crosses in the greenhouse, we found that differences in both recipients and pollen donors influenced when stigmas became receptive. Because we did not detect an interaction effect, our result suggests that some donors were consistently better than others at germinating pollen and siring seeds earlier. Unexpectedly, self-pollen was able to fertilize seeds earlier during floral development compared with out-cross pollen. These results suggest that female control on timing of stigma receptivity is not complete in this species. In addition, fertilizations that occurred early during floral development resulted in fewer seeds than later fertilizations, possibly indicating a cost of lost control over the onset of receptivity. The ability of pollen donors to influence the timing of stigma receptivity might reflect a conflict between the sexual functions in C. heterophylla.


flower development; manipulation; pollen competition; sexual conflict; delayed stigma receptivity

Published in

American Naturalist
2007, volume: 170, number: 6, pages: 854-863

Authors' information

Lund University
Kiboi, Samuel
University of Nairobi

UKÄ Subject classification

Evolutionary Biology

Publication Identifiers


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