Plant Diversity ›› 2016, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (05): 227-232.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2016.09.006

• Articles • Previous Articles    

Pollination and seed dispersal of Aquilaria sinensis (Lour.) Gilg (Thymelaeaceae): An economic plant species with extremely small populations in China

Gao Chena,b, Changqiu Liub, Weibang Suna,b   

  1. a. Kunming Botanical Garden, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, Yunnan, China;
    b. Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, Yunnan, China
  • Received:2016-06-14 Revised:2016-09-27 Published:2021-11-05
  • Contact: Gao Chen, Weibang Sun
  • Supported by:
    Support for this study was provided by grants from the NSFCYunnan joint fund on key projects to W.B. Sun (No. U1302262) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China to G. Chen (31670322), the Young Academic and Technical Leader Raising Foundation of Yunnan Province (No. 2015HB091) and the Science and Technology Research Program of Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KIB2016005) to G. Chen. The authors thank Dr. Johann Schinnerl for his great help in editing the text. We thank Shou-zhou Zhang, Hui Dong, Meng Guo, Zheng-Wei Wang, Hai-Hang Lin, and Jie Li who help us in field works and data collection. We thank Dr. Chun-Sheng Wu and Hui-Lin Han for their help in identification of moths.

Abstract: Pollination and seed dispersal in angiosperms have long been investigated in order to understand the coevolution of plants and animals. However, the signals from flowers and/or seeds to attract pollinators and/or seed dispersers have received comparatively little attention. In this study, the pollination biology and seed dispersal of the vulnerable agarwood plant Aquilaria sinensis (Lour.) Gilg, a traditional medicinal plant in China, was studied in its natural distribution range. The reproductive tactics of A. sinensis were studied in detail by employing various tests dealing with fruit set and also seed dispersal. Dynamic headspace extraction followed by GC-MS analysis was also performed in order to reveal the composition of floral scent. The results showed that noctuids and pyralids are the most effective pollinators of pollinator-dependent A. sinensis. The main compounds of the floral scent were (E, E)-α-Farnesene (61.9±3.2%), trans-Ocimene (16.6±1.2%), and Benzyl salicylate (4.6±1.1%). The results obtained from seed dispersal experiments indicate that hornets are effective seed dispersers and they may play an important role in long-distance seed dispersal of A. sinensis. Based on our findings, we recommend several protection methods for this threatened agarwood plant in China.

Key words: Aquilaria, GC–MS, Pollination, Pyralidae, Seed dispersal, Vespa