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Asymmetrical mating patterns and the evolution of biased style-morph ratios in a tristylous daffodil



Non-random mating in plant populations can be influenced by numerous reproductive and demographic factors, including floral morphology and inter-plant distance. Here, we investigate patterns of outcrossed mating through male function in Narcissus triandrus, a tristylous, bee-pollinated wild daffodil from the Iberian Peninsula, to test pollen transfer models which predict that floral morphology promotes asymmetrical mating and biased morph ratios. Unlike other tristylous species, N. triandrus has an incompatibility system that permits intra-morph mating and long-level rather than mid-level stamens in the L-morph. Incomplete sex-organ reciprocity should result in significant intra-morph mating in the L-morph. We measured mating patterns in two L-biased populations – dimorphic (two style morphs) and trimorphic (three style morphs) – using multilocus genotyping and maximum-likelihood-based paternity analysis. We also examined the spatial distribution of style morphs and neutral markers to investigate the potential consequence of spatially restricted mating on morph ratios. As predicted, we detected significant amounts of intra-morph mating in the L-morph in both populations. Pollen transfer coefficients generally supported predictions based on the Darwinian hypothesis that anthers and stigmas of equivalent level promote pollinator-mediated cross-pollination in heterostylous populations. There was evidence of significant spatial aggregation of both style morphs and neutral markers in populations of N. triandrus, probably as a result of restricted pollen and seed dispersal. Our results provide empirical support for theoretical models of pollen transfer, which indicate that the commonly observed L-biased morph ratios in Narcissus species result from significant intra-morph mating in the L-morph because of its atypical floral morphology.

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