Original Article

Mating patterns and demography in the tristylous daffodil Narcissus triandrus

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Mating patterns in plant populations are influenced by interactions between reproductive traits and ecological conditions, both factors that are likely to vary geographically. Narcissus triandrus, a wide-ranging heterostylous herb, exhibits populations with either two (dimorphic) or three (trimorphic) style morphs and displays substantial geographical variation in demographic attributes and floral morphology. Here, we investigate this variation to determine if demography, morphology, and mating system differ between the two sexual systems. Our surveys in Portugal and NW Spain indicated that dimorphic populations were less dense, of smaller size, and had larger plants and flowers compared to trimorphic populations. Outcrossing rates estimated using allozyme markers revealed similar outcrossing rates in dimorphic and trimorphic populations (tm dimorphic=0.759; tm trimorphic=0.710). All populations experienced significant inbreeding in progeny (mean F=0.143). In contrast, parental estimates of inbreeding were not significantly different from zero (mean F=0.062), implying that few inbred offspring survive to reproductive maturity due to inbreeding depression. Although the majority of inbreeding results from selfing, significant levels of biparental inbreeding were also detected in eight of the nine populations (mean sssm=0.081). Density was negatively associated with levels of selfing but positively associated with biparental inbreeding. Population size was positively associated with outcrossing but not biparental inbreeding. There were no consistent differences among the style morphs in outcrossing or biparental inbreeding indicating that the maintenance of trimorphism vs dimorphism is unlikely to be associated with inbreeding of maternal parents.

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We thank Lawrence Harder for valuable discussions, William Cole for technical advice, and Reagan Johnson for field assistance in collecting seeds. This work was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through a discovery grant to SCHB and a postgraduate fellowship to KAH.

Author information


  1. Department of Botany, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3B2

    • K A Hodgins
    •  & S C H Barrett


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Correspondence to K A Hodgins.