Pollination ecology and fruiting behavior of Pavetta indica L. (Rubiaceae), a keystone shrub species in the southern Eastern Ghats forest, Andhra Pradesh, India

Main Article Content

A.J. Solomon Raju
M. Mallikarjuna Rao
K. Venkata Ramana
C. Prasada Rao
M. Sulakshana


Pavetta indica is a massive bloomer for a brief period in May.  The flowers are hermaphroditic, strikingly protandrous, self and cross-compatible, nectariferous and psychophilous.  They possess secondary pollen presentation mechanism as a device to avoid autonomous autogamy but it does not prevent geitonogamy.  The fruit set largely occurs through geitonogamy and xenogamy.  Butterflies, especially papilionids, pierids, nymphalids, and sphingid hawk moth pollinate the flowers while collecting nectar.  Honey bees and blue-banded digger bees feed on pollen and effect only accidental pollination.  The nectar is sucrose-rich and contains essential and non-essential amino acids.  Birds are seed dispersal agents. Seeds are non-dormant and germinate readily during rainy season but their continued growth and establishment is subject to the availability of soil moisture and nutrients.  The plant is not able to populate itself in its natural area.  The local uses of different parts of the plant have been found to be affecting its reproductive success and natural regeneration rate.  Therefore, regulation of the uses of this plant is recommended for its survival and restoration of its population size in the natural areas due to its role as a keystone species for bees and butterflies during dry season.


Article Details

Author Biographies

A.J. Solomon Raju, Department of Environmental Sciences, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

Dr. Aluri Jacob Solomon Raju is a Professor of Environmental Sciences in Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India. He was the Head of the Department during 2009-2012. He was the Visiting Professor of University of Colima, Mexico. He was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Akron, USA for a period of two years. He has conducted extensive field work in Olympic Mountains, Colorado Rocky Mountains, Siskiyu Mountains, Yosemite National Park, Yellostone National Park and Grand Teton Mountains in connection with reproductive biology of an arctic-alpine genus Pedicularis and its conservation and management aspects. Further, he has also conducted field research in Mexico. He has published more than 300 research papers, participated and presented scores of research papers at more than 50 national and more than 30 International conferences held in India and abroad. He visited USA, Canada, UK, Brazil, Paraguay, Italy, Mexico, France, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Ethiopia and Tanzania. In recognition of his superior record of scholarship, he was awarded Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Akron, USA. He is also the recipient of Best Research Award and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Best Academician Award of Andhra University, Loyola Environmental Award from Loyola College, Chennai and Andhra Pradesh Scientist Award from Andhra Pradesh Council of Science & Technology, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh. He successfully completed a number of major research projects on the Eastern Ghats Forests funded by ICAR, UGC, DST, CSIR, DBT and MoEF. He was the Expert member of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India in sanctioning the research projects. He has also worked on biodiesel plants such as Pongamia and Jatropha and work on these plants laid foundation for others to initiate work in commercial lines. He has also published ten books on various subjects published by national and international publishers. Twenty Ph.Ds and 10 M.Phils were awarded under his guidance. Further, he is currently serving as a resource person for All India Radio, TV Channels, Consultant for issues relating to conservation biology and environment. Further, he is currently operating All India Coordinated Research Project on the endangered species of Eastern Ghats funded by MoEF, on reproductive ecology of Coringa Mangrove Forest funded by MoEF and on reproductive ecology of rare plants of Eastern Ghats funded by CSIR, New Delhi. He is an expert-cum-reviewer for scores of scientific journals published by Elsevier, Springer publishers, Indian Publishers, US Publishers and African Publishers. He is the Chief Editor of Advances in Pollen-Spore Research and Guest Editor of Journal of Palynology.


M. Mallikarjuna Rao, Department of Environmental Sciences, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

M. MALLIKARJUNA RAO is Project Fellow working in the DST Research Project under Prof. A.J. Solomon Raju, Department of Environmental Sciences, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.  He is simultaneously doing research leading to Ph.D. degree under the same faculty member.

K. Venkata Ramana, Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

DR. K. VENKATA RAMANA is DST Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Young Scientist Scheme) working in the Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.

C. Prasada Rao, Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

DR. CH. PRASADA RAO is doing post-doctoral research work  in the Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam

M. Sulakshana, Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

M. SULAKSHANA is a Full-Time Research Scholar and Fellowship holder of Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship, University Grants Commission, New Delhi. She is working under the guidance of Dr. D. Sandhya Deepika, Associate Professor, Department of Botany, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.


Baker, H.G. & I. Baker (1973). Some anthecological aspects of evolution of nectar-producing flowers, particularly amino acid production in nectar, pp. 243–264. In: Heywood, V.H. (ed.). Taxonomy and Ecology. Academic Press, London.

Baker, H.G. & I. Baker (1982). Chemical constituents of nectar in relation to pollination mechanisms and phylogeny, pp. 131–171. In: Nitecki, M.H. (ed.). Biochemical Aspects of Evolutionary Biology. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Baker, H.G. & I. Baker (1983). A brief historical review of the chemistry of floral nectar, pp. 126-152. In: Bentley, B. & T. Elias (eds.). The Biology of Nectaries. Columbia University Press, New York.

Balasubramanian, M.V. (1990). Studies on the ecology of butterfly pollination in south India. Part-II. Pollination of Pavetta indica Linn. (Rubiaceae). Annals of Entomology 8: 71–78.

Bremekamp, C.E.B. (1934). A monograph of the genus Pavetta L. Feddes Repertorium 37: 1–208.

Bridson, D.M. (2003). 82. Pavetta L. In: G.V.Pope. Flora zambesiaca 5: 543–598.

Burkhardt, D. (1964). Colour discrimination in insects. Advances in Insect Physiology 2: 131–173; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2806(08)60073-9

Cruden, R.W. (1977). Pollen-ovule ratios: a conservative indicator of breeding systems in flowering plants. Evolution 31: 32-46; http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2407542

Cruden, R.W., S.M. Hermann & S. Peterson (1983). Plant-pollinator coevolution, pp. 80–125. In: Bentley, B. & T. Elias (eds.). The Biology of Nectaries. Columbia University Press, New York.

Dafni, A., P.G. Kevan & B.C. Husband (2005). Practical Pollination Biology. Enviroquest Ltd., Ontario, 583pp.

De Block, P. & E. Robbrecht (1998). Pollen morphology of the Pavetteae (Rubiaceae, Ixoroideae) and its taxonomic significance. Grana 37: 260–275; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00173139809362678

DeGroot, A.P. (1953). Protein and amino acid requirements of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.). Physiologia Comparata et Oecologia 3: 197–285.

Faegri, K. & L. van der Pijl (1979). The Principles of Pollination Ecology. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 244pp.

Gardener, M.C. & M.P. Gillman (2001). The effects of soil fertilizer on amino acids in the floral nectar of corncockle, Agrostemma githago L. (Caryophyllaceae). Oikos 92: 101–106; http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0706.2001.920112.x

Guptha, M.B., P.V.C. Rao & D.S. Reddy (2012). A preliminary observation on butterflies of Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve, Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh, India. World Journal of Zoology 7: 83–89; http://dx.doi.org/10.5829/idosi.wjz.2012.7.1.61323

Harborne, J.B. (1973). Phytochemical Methods. Chapman and Hall, London, 288pp.

Howell, G.J., A.T. Slater A.T. & R.B. Knox (1993). Secondary pollen presentation in angiosperms and its biological significance. Australian Journal of Botany 41: 417–438; http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT9930417

Jervis, M.A. & C.L. Boggs (2005). Linking nectar amino acids to fitness in female butterflies. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 20: 585–587; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2005.08.015

Johnson, D.S. & G. Nichols (2002). Gardening with Indigenous Shrubs. Struik Timmins Publishers, Cape Town, 98pp.

Kato, M. (1996). Plant-pollinator interactions in the understory of a lowland mixed dipterocap forest in Sarawak. American Journal of Botany 83: 732–743.

Kato, M., Y. Kosaka, A. Kawakita, Y. Okuyama, C. Kobayashi, T. Phimminith & D. Thongphan (2008). Plant-pollinator interactions in tropical monsoon forests in Southeast Asia. American Journal of Botany 95: 1375–1394; http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.0800114

Kevan, P.G. & H.G. Baker (1983). Insects as flower visitors and pollinators. Annual Review of Entomology 28: 407–453; http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.en.28.010183.002203

Kingsolver, J.G. & T.L. Daniel (1979). On the mechanics and energetics of nectar feeding in butterflies. Journal of Theoretical Biology 76: 167–179; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-5193(79)90368-0

Kok, P.D.F. & N. Grobbelaar (1984). Studies on Pavetta (Rubiaceae) 2. Enumeration of species and synonymy. South African Journal of Botany 3: 185–187.

Mabberley, D.J. (1997). The Plant - Book. A Portable Dictionary of the Higher Plants. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1040pp.

Momose, K., T. Yumoto, T. Nagamitsu, M. Kato, M. Nagamitsu, S. Sakai & D. Harrison (1998). Pollination biology in a lowland dipterocarp forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. I. Characteristics of the plant-pollinator community in a lowland dipterocarp forest. American Journal of Botany 85: 1477–1501.

Murali, K.S. & R. Sukumar (1994). Reproductive phenology of a tropical dry forest in Mudumalai, southern India. Journal of Ecology 82: 759–767; http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2261441

Nilsson, L.A., E. Rabakonandrianina, B. Perterson & J. Ranaivo (1990). “Ixoroid†secondary pollen presentation by small moths in the Malagasy treelet Ixora platythyrsa (Rubiaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 170: 161–175.

Puff, C., K. Chayamarit & V. Chamchumroon (2005). Rubiaceae of Thailand. A pictorial guide to indigenous and cultivated genera. The Forest Herbarium, National Park, Wildlife and Conservation Department, Bangkok, 245pp.

Reynolds, S.T. (1993). The genus Pavetta L. (Rubiaceae) in Australia. Austrobaileya 4: 21–49.

Robbrecht, E. (1988). Tropical woody Rubiaceae. Opera Botanica Belgica 1: 1–271.

Santapau, H. & A.N. Henry (1972). A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants in India. CSIR Publications, New Delhi, 126pp.

Schmidt, E., M. Lotter & W. McCleland (2002). Trees and shrubs of Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park, Jacana. Johannesburg, 256pp.

Tao, C. & C.M. Taylor (2011). Pavetta L. Flora of China 19: 287–290.

Van Wyk, P. (1974). Trees of the Kruger National Park. Purnell, Cape Town, 597pp.

Yeo, P.F. (2012). Secondary Pollen Presentation: Form, Function and Evolution. Springer Science & Business Media, 269pp.

Most read articles by the same author(s)