Mating system and female reproductive success of the endemic and endangered epiphyte Rhynchostele cervantesii (Orchidaceae) in a cloud forest in Michoacan, Mexico


cloud forest
mating system
reproductive success

How to Cite

Magaña Lemus, R., Ávila-Díaz, I. and Herrerías Diego, Y. (2021) “Mating system and female reproductive success of the endemic and endangered epiphyte Rhynchostele cervantesii (Orchidaceae) in a cloud forest in Michoacan, Mexico”, Plant Ecology and Evolution, 154(1), pp. 56-62. doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2021.1551.


Background and aims – The Orchidaceae family is vulnerable, because of the destruction of their habitat, as well as the extraction of individuals from natural populations. This is the case of the genus Rhynchostele Rchb.f.; among the actions considered important for appropriate conservation strategies for this genus is the generation of fundamental knowledge, such as on its reproductive biology. The objective of this work is to understand the mating system and reproductive success of Rhynchostele cervantesii, an endangered epiphytic orchid endemic to Mexico.
Material and methods – Manual and open-pollination treatments were conducted during 2014 and 2015 in a cloud forest in Michoacan, Mexico. In each period, 30 to 40 randomly selected inflorescences were subjected to the following treatments: a) spontaneous-self-pollination, b) emasculation, c) self-pollination, d) cross-pollination, and e) open-pollination. The developed fruits were counted and harvested, the viability of the seeds was determined, through the observation and evaluation of embryos using microscopy.
Key results – Significant differences were recorded between the treatments in both 2014 and 2015, with higher fruit production in cross-pollination than in self-pollination and natural-pollination. There were significant differences in seed viability, with higher values for seeds from open-pollination and cross-pollination and lower values for seeds from self-pollination.
ConclusionsRhynchostele cervantesii is a species that requires pollinators for sexual reproduction because there is no fruit production with spontaneous-self-pollination. Under pollen limitation, the fruit set of natural pollination was a lot lower than in cross-pollination although fruits were the same quality. R. cervantesii had a mixed mating system with a tendency to exogamy, presenting high values of female reproductive success compared to other tropical epiphytic orchid species reported in the literature.


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