Main content area

The coexistence of hermaphroditic and dioecious plants is associated with polyploidy and gender dimorphism in Dasiphora fruticosa

Wang, Lin-Lin, Zhang, Zhi-Qiang, Yang, Yong-Ping, Duan, Yuan-Wen
Plant diversity 2019
DNA, Dasiphora fruticosa, dimorphism, dioecy, female flowers, females, flow cytometry, hermaphroditism, males, ovules, phenotype, pollen, pollination, polyploidy, seeds, China
Dasiphora fruticosa comprises male, female and hermaphrodite plants, which are distributed sympatrically in some populations on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. To explore what governs the coexistence of these three sexual phenotypes, we investigated the DNA contents, pollen and ovule production, pollen deposition, and performed hand-pollination in both hermaphroditic and dioecious individuals of D. fruticosa. Flow cytometry confirmed that the DNA content of males and females were almost twice as much as that of the hermaphrodites. Male and female flowers produced more pollen grains and ovules than hermaphroditic flowers. Hand-pollinated treatments showed that unisexual flowers were sterile in one sexual function and bisexual flowers were fertile for both functions, but no sterile seeds were produced between unisexual and bisexual flowers. Our findings imply that polyploidy is related to gender dimorphism, and both are likely to play a strong role in the coexistence of two cryptic biological species of D. fruticosa (low ploidy hermaphroditic species and high ploidy dioecious species) in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.