Journal Article


Amritendu MukhopadhyaySuhel Quader

Fine-tuned spatiotemporal dynamics of sporophylls in movement-assisted dichogamy: A study on Clerodendrum infortunatum

Hermaphroditism is cost-effective because a common investment in reward and attractive structures yields benefits through both male and female reproductive success. However, the advantage is accompanied by an increased risk of self-pollen deposition, which is generally disadvantageous. Hermaphroditic plants reduce self-pollen deposition by separating sporophylls (a term applied to the stamens and carpels) either spatially (herkogamy) or temporally (dichogamy). In movement-assisted dichogamy, both sporophylls show coordinated motion in opposite directions. However, the effectiveness of this movement in reducing self-pollen deposition may be compromised at the point when the sporophylls cross each other and are close enough to interfere, resulting in a transition phase problem. The solution to this problem lies in the details of the spatiotemporal dynamics of the sporophylls in relation to their reproductive maturity. We studied these details across the floral lifetime of a protandrous shrub, Clerodendrum infortunatum (Lamiaceae), in rainforest fragments of the Western Ghats, India. We took photos of flowers at regular time intervals and measured sporophyll angles from the images. We also carried out a field experiment to determine stigma receptivity. We found that the stigma lobes remained narrowly opened at transition, and the stigma surfaces remained non-receptive. Our findings suggest that the effectiveness of dichogamy is maximized through two properties of the transition phase: physical resistance to self-pollen deposition by narrow stigma lobe opening and chemical non-receptivity of the stigma during this phase. This study emphasizes the importance of accessory adaptations in movement-assisted dichogamy to tackle the transition phase problem.