Mating Systems and Evolution in Flowering Plants

  • Kent E. Holsinger
  • Jennifer E. Steinbachs


Flowers are not only “designed as organs for a plant’s sexual reproduction.” They are, as Sprengel [2] pointed out more than two centuries ago, also designed to attract pollinators. Because plants are sessile, outcrossing among them requires that an external agent be recruited to move pollen from one to another. The enormous variety of external agents available—wind, water, bees, flies, bats, butterflies, and moths, to name only a few—is complemented by an equally enormous variety of floral forms. Pollination biologists have explained this variety by following the grand tradition established by Darwin [3–5] and the encyclopedists [6,7], i.e, they have explained this diversity as a result of natural selection to ensure outcrossing.


Mating System Inbreeding Depression Selfing Rate Reproductive Assurance Mixed Mating System 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kent E. Holsinger
    • 1
  • Jennifer E. Steinbachs
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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