Pollen limitation and the evolution of androdioecy from dioecy

Am Nat. 2004 Jan;163(1):122-37. doi: 10.1086/380493. Epub 2004 Jan 28.


Androdioecy is an unusual breeding system in which populations consist of separate male and hermaphrodite individuals. The evolution of androdioecy is still poorly understood; however, there is evidence from several androdioecious species that the breeding system may have evolved from dioecy (males and females). This article presents a simple deterministic model showing that androdioecy can evolve from dioecy under a broad range of realistic conditions. For the evolution of androdioecy from dioecy, hermaphrodites must be able to invade the dioecious population. Then, males must be maintained, while females are eliminated. Hermaphrodite invasion is favored when females are pollen limited and hermaphrodites have high overall fertility and are self-fertile. Male maintenance is favored when hermaphrodites resemble females, having high seed production and low pollen fitness, and when the selfing rate is not too high. These conditions were satisfied over a broad and realistic range of parameter values, suggesting that the evolution of androdioecy from dioecy is highly plausible.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Pollen / physiology*
  • Reproduction / physiology