Plant Diversity ›› 2015, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (01): 21-28.DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201514068

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Flower Color Polymorphism in Rhododendron cyanocarpum (Ericaceae), an Endangered Alpine Species Endemic to NW Yunnan, China

 MA  Yong-Peng-1, WU  Zhi-Kun-1, ZHANG  Chang-Qin-1、2, SUN  Wei-Bang-1   

  1. 1 Kunming Botanical Garden, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China;
    2 Yunnan Characteristics of Wood Flowers Engineering and Technical Research Center, Kunming 650000, China
  • Received:2014-04-28 Online:2015-01-25 Published:2014-07-10
  • Supported by:

    The National Natural Science Foundation of China (31200247, U1302262); The Natural Science Foundation of Yunnan Province (2012FB180)


 Rhododendron cyanocarpum is a narrow endemic species with pink and white floral color. In the present study, to investigate the significance of petal color morphs, we examined color morph frequencies, petal color reflectance and other associated floral characters, effective pollinators, visitation frequencies, and fruit production in the field. In all surveyed known populations, plants with pink color morph dominanted and comprised 77%-100% of individuals. Two peaks at 430 nm and 650 nm were found in the petal color reflectance of pink flowers, and only one peak at 430 nm was found in the reflectance spectrum of white flowers. In addition, color morphs were also associated with colors of style and stigma, lengths of corolla, calyx and pedicel, the closest distance between stigma and stamen, but not with style length and nectar production. Moreover, higher visitation frequency of their shared pollinators (bumblebees) and fruit production were observed of pink flowers than white flowers. Despite a briefly temporal and spacial study, we suggest that color morph frequencies, visit frequencies of bumblebees and fruit production, all favor to be stablilizing selection for the pink color morph.

Key words: Rhododendron cyanocarpum, Bumblebees, Floral color morphs, Visit frequency

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