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Ellison Abstract- 2006 Ne'eman et al

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Ne'eman, G., R. Ne'eman, and A. M. Ellison. 2006. Limits to reproductive success of Sarracenia purpurea (Sarraceniaceae). American Journal of Botany 93: 1660-1666.


Plant biologists have an enduring interest in assessing components of plant fitness and determining limits to seed set. Consequently, the relative contributions of resource and pollinator availability have been documented for a large number of plant species. We experimentally examined the roles of resource and pollen availability on seed set by the northern pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. Uniquely, we were able to distinguish the relative contributions of carbon (photosynthate) and mineral nutrients (nitrogen) to reproductive success. We also determined potential pollinators of this species. The bees Bombus affinis and Augochlorella aurata and the fly Fletcherimyia fletcheri were the only floral visitors to S. purpurea that collected pollen. Supplemental pollination increased seed set by <10%, a much lower percentage than would be expected, given data from non-carnivorous, animal-pollinated taxa. Seed set was reduced by 14% in plants that could not capture prey, and by another 23% in plants whose pitcher-shaped leaves were also prevented from photosynthesizing. We conclude that resources are more important than pollen availability in determining seed set by this pitcher plant, and that reproductive output may be another "cost" of the carnivorous habit.

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