Pollination biology of Eriolaena hookeriana Wight and Arn. (Sterculiaceae), a rare tree species of Eastern Ghats, India

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A.J.S. Raju
P.H. Chandra
K.V. Ramana
J.R. Krishna


Eriolaena hookeriana is a rare medium-sized deciduous tree species. The flowering is very brief and occurs during early wet season. The flowers attract certain bees such as Apis dorsata, Halictus sp., Anthophora sp., Xylocopa latipes, and also the wasp, Rhynchium sp. at the study sites. These foragers collect both pollen and nectar during which they contact the stamens and stigma and effect self- or cross-pollination. Nectar depletion by thrips during bud and flower phase and the production of few flowers daily at tree level drive the pollinator insects to visit conspecific plants to gather more forage and in this process they maximize cross-pollination. The hermaphroditic flowers with the stigmatose style beyond the height of stamens and the sticky pollen grains do not facilitate autogamy but promote out-crossing. The study showed that pollinator limitation is responsible for the low fruit set but it is, however, partly compensated by multi-seeded fruits. Bud and anther predation by beetles also affects reproductive success. Explosive fruit dehiscence and anemochory are special characteristics; these events occur during the dry season. The plant is used for various purposes locally and hence the surviving individuals are threatened. The study suggests that the rocky and nutrient-poor soils, the pollinator limitation, bud and anther predation, establishment problems and local uses collectively contribute to the rare occurrence of E. hookeriana in the Eastern Ghats.

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