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30 December 2021 Mating system, pollination, and seed dispersal in the Pennsylvania endangered Iris verna
Jaclyn E. Braund, Heather F. Sahli
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Iris verna L. var. smalliana Fernald ex M.E. Edwards (Family Iridaceae, hereafter referred to as Iris verna) is currently listed as endangered in Pennsylvania. The six extant populations in Pennsylvania are all located in one state forest and represent the northern end of the range for the species. There is little known about the basic biology of I. verna throughout its range, making preservation of threatened populations difficult. Iris verna was tested for self-compatibility and the ability to autonomously self-pollinate in 2016. Pollinator limitation studies were conducted on three of the Pennsylvania populations in 2015 and 2016 by comparing hand-pollinated and naturally pollinated flowers. Potential animal pollinators or seed dispersers were identified through in-person observation and video camera use. Iris verna was found to be self-compatible, with no significant reduction in seed production in selfed flowers, but the species does require a pollinator for pollen transfer. Seed production in I. verna was limited by pollinators during both years of the study and seed production in both control and hand-pollinated flowers was variable across years, suggesting resource availability also limits sexual reproduction. Ants were the only observed animals potentially coming in contact with reproductive organs while visiting flowers, and were also identified as seed dispersers. Our findings suggest that pollinators can be an important limiting factor to sexual reproduction in these endangered populations of I. verna in Pennsylvania.

©Copyright 2022 by The Torrey Botanical Society
Jaclyn E. Braund and Heather F. Sahli "Mating system, pollination, and seed dispersal in the Pennsylvania endangered Iris verna," The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 149(1), 8-16, (30 December 2021).
Received: 19 June 2020; Published: 30 December 2021

mating system
plant conservation
pollen limitation
seed dispersal
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