Evolution and homology of bird pollination syndromes in Erythrina (Leguminosae)

Anne Bruneau
1997 American Journal of Botany  
Erythrina L. (Leguminosae: Phaseoleae) is a pantropical genus of over 100 species, all of which are either hummingbird or passerine pollinated. Phylogenetic hypotheses based on morphological and chloroplast DNA restriction site characters suggest that shifts from passerine to hummingbird pollination have occurred a minimum of four times in the genus. In hummingbird-pollinated species the inflorescences are held upright, the flowers are arranged radially along the axis, and the narrow standard
more » ... tal is conduplicately folded to form a pseudotube. In most of the passerine-pollinated species, the inflorescences are held horizontally, the flowers are secund, and the standard petal is open so that the nectar and androecium are easily visible and accessible. Nectar amino acid concentrations and sucrose to hexose ratios are closely associated with pollination mode. Despite the general resemblance in flower and inflorescence morphology among species with the same pollination type, homology assessment reveals that petal morphology and size, and calyx and pollen morphology differ. Morphological characters, even if comprising modifications associated with adaptive pollination systems, therefore provide useful phylogenetic information.
doi:10.2307/2445883 fatcat:xkpd6bov5zhvnmsvtkpk6uo4ie