Ecology and evolution of plant mating

Trends Ecol Evol. 1996 Feb;11(2):73-9. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(96)81046-9.


Plants exhibit complex mating patterns because of their immobility, hermaphroditism and reliance on vectors for pollen transfer. Research on plant mating attempts to determine who mates with whom in plant populations and how and why mating patterns become evolutionarily modified. Most theoretical models of mating-system evolution have focused on the fitness consequences of selling and outcrossing, stimulating considerable empirical work on the ecology and genetics of inbreeding depression. Less attention has been given to how the mechanics of pollen dispersal influence the transmission of self and outcross gametes. Recent work on the relation between pollen dispersal and mating suggests that many features of floral design traditionally interpreted as anti-selling mechanisms may function to reduce the mating costs associated with large floral displays.