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The long and the short of it: long-styled florets are associated with higher outcrossing rate in Senecio vulgaris and result from delayed self-pollen germination

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Judith A Irwin, Paul A Ashton, Francois Bretagnolle, Richard John Abbott

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Background: It has been reported that some plants of the self-compatible species, Senecio vulgaris, produce capitula containing long-styled florets which fail to set seed when left to self-pollinate, although readily set seed when self-pollinated by hand.
Aims: To determine if production of long-styled florets is associated with higher
outcrossing rate in S. vulgaris, and whether long-styles occur in non-pollinated
florets, whereas short-styles are present in self-pollinated florets.
Methods: The frequency of long-styled florets was compared in the radiate and non-radiate variants of S. vulgaris, known to exhibit higher and lower outcrossing rates, respectively. In addition, style length was compared in emasculated florets that were either self-pollinated or left non-pollinated.
Results: Long-styled florets were more frequent in the higher outcrossing radiate variant. Following emasculation, long styles occurred in non-pollinated florets, while short styles were present in self-pollinated florets. The two variants did not differ in style length within the non-pollinated or within the self-pollinated floret categories.
Conclusions: A high frequency of long-styled florets is associated with higher
outcrossing rate in S. vulgaris and results from delayed self-pollination and pollen germination on stigmas.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Ecology & Diversity
Issue number2
Early online date25 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Asteraceae, Outcrossing rate, Pollination, Pollen germination, Ray and disc florets, Selfing, Senecio, Style length

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