Massonia pustulata

Paul Cumbleton
Sun, 15 Jan 2012 02:06:46 PST
Some scientific research has been done on Massonia depressa, which probably
applies to other Massonia species too. In summary, 3 groups of plants were
kept in a pollinator-excluded greenhouse to test their breeding system:

1. Unmanipulated to test for self-fertilisation. Result: No fruits were set

2.  Pollinated by hand with self- pollen to determine whether plants are
self-compatible. Result: 38.5 % of flowers set fruits. The seeds were small

3.   Pollinated by hand with pollen from a different plant. Result: 82.4% of
flowers set fruits. The seeds were larger (0.29g)

Also, experiments were done excluding rodents from plants in the wild.
Result: Only 4.3% of flowers set fruit, each containing about 2 seeds

 Not excluding rodents from plants in the wild resulted in 30.4% of flowers
setting fruit, each containing about 20 seeds

It seems that although they are self-compatible (and experience shows that
viable plants can be grown from self-set seed), cross pollination produces
more and larger seeds and is the main pollination strategy in the wild.

The reference for the scientific research is: "Rodent pollination in the
African lily Massonia depressa (Hyacinthaceae)" Steven D. Johnson, Anton
Pauw and Jeremy MidgleyAmerican Journal of Botany. 2001;88:1768-1773.  The
abstract can be found here:  -
the full text can be read for free by selecting the pdf version over on the
right of that page.

Paul Cumbleton
Zone 8, U.K.

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