Pollination of Jaltomata (Solanaceae)

revised Mar 2016

 

Link to Jaltomata homepage

The information on this page may be cited as a communication with professor Thomas Mione,
Central Connecticut State University, Biology Department, Copernicus Hall, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, Connecticut 06050-4010, United States of America.


Description of the
genus
Jaltomata

 

Figure 1. Flowers of Jaltomata viridiflora visited by rufous-tailed hummingbird in Ecuador (photo by Jack Lamb 2007).

 

Figure 2. Bee visiting flower of Jaltomata diversa in Peru, department Arequipa (Leiva, Mione, Yacher 4669, photo by Segundo Leiva G.)

Figure 3. Bee visiting flower of Jaltomata diversa in Peru, department Arequipa (Leiva, Mione, Yacher 4669, photo by Segundo Leiva G.)

 


At least two Jaltomata species are visited by hummingbirds, J. viridiflora (Figure 1), and J. calliantha, a rare species of northern Peru. Hummingbirds repeatedly visited the flowers while Segundo Leiva G. and I were at the type locality (first-discovered population) of J. calliantha in northern Peru. The only flowers that had red/orange nectar were those that were not found by the hummingbirds. For example if a flower was facing and nearly in contact with a rock one could find nectar in that flower. Other flowers were lacking nectar because the birds were repeatedly visiting and removing nectar. At J. calliantha's web page the bird is (sort of) visible in a photo under the letter h of humminbird. Shawn Anderson, under my direction, studied this species in Connecticut, USA (2008), and found that removal of nectar every day results in increased nectar production compared to flowers having nectar manually removed every other day.

 

According to Bitter (1921, page 342), Weberbauer suggested (in correspondence or a paper dated 5 December 1920) that the red nectar attracts small flies for pollination. The person helping with translation from German was not a professional translator, so I am only reasonably sure of this translation.

 

Williams (1985, page 92) noted that visitation of Jaltomata by honey bees has been observed on numerous occasions in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Tilton Davis generously gave his unpublished notes to me, in which he wrote “Outside the greenhouses where David Williams was growing his plants [presumably in Mexico where Williams worked] Apis mellifera was frequenting the plants."

 

Mione & S. Leiva G. observed what appeared to be honey bees visiting Jaltomata athaluallapae in department Cajamaraca, Peru, 26 March 2013, Mione et al. 830.

 

 

Eickwort (1967) described bees visiting Jaltomata in Costa Rica. He wrote (with nomenclature updated by Mione): "Flowers of Jaltomata hang downwards and the tubular anthers also completely enclose the pollen. Each locule possesses a thin and easily torn white longitudinal strip of epidermis in the same position as the slit of the Solanum anthers. Bees were observed to manipulate intact strips with their mandibles. This plus the jagged edges of torn strips suggest that mandibular action usually opens the anther. Scratches on the epidermis of the anther leave brown scars indicating the bees' activities. As the anther ages, the strip is torn open for the length of the anther. Since all anthers examined were either torn open by the bees or were immature, it could not be ascertained if the anthers would open naturally in the absence of Chilicola. Pollen-gathering behavior is otherwise similar to that of Solanum.

The females commonly visit more than one anther on a flower for pollen and more than one flower per collecting trip. More than one female may be taking pollen simultaneously from different anthers of the same flower. Occasionally a second female lands on a flower and dislodges a female previously collecting pollen. A female landing on Jaltomata for pollen usually takes nectar from the same flower. Nectar drinking may precede, interrupt, or follow pollen collecting, and may occur more than once during a single visit.

The twelve timed pollen collecting trips on Solanum and Jaltomata, each female spent a mean of 178 seconds (range 90-300 seconds, SE 21.15) on each flower. The sample was too small to make comparisons between plant species meaningful.

The above solanaceous plants were seldom visited by other species for pollen during this study. A few females of Lasioglossum s. str. (Halictidae) collected pollen from Jaltomata."

Note that wherever Eickwort wrote "Saracha" I replaced it with "Jaltomata" (Saracha does not grow in Costa Rica; Jaltomata were known as Saracha at that time). And from the habitat he worked in (coffee plantations) and the photos he included we can be reasonably sure that he worked with Jaltomata repandidentata not J. procumbens.



Most Jaltomata species exhibit delayed self-pollination. The species that have been studied are self-compatible.

 

Adaxial face of corolla of Jaltomata procumbens. Hairs 0.2 -- 0.325 mm long, are gland-tipped (measured with a compound microsope). Photo with dissecting microscope by Gabriella Moreno & T. Mione. Mione 844

 

Link to Jaltomata homepage

The information on this page may be cited as a communication with professor Thomas Mione,
Central Connecticut State University, Biology Department, Copernicus Hall, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, Connecticut 06050-4010, United States of America.

Literature Cited