Abstract Detail

Reproductive Processes

Valdes, Imeña [1], Finch, Jessamine [2], Havens, Kayri [3].

When is a native not a native? An assessment of pollinator preference of native plants and their cultivated varieties.

Native plants are being brought into cultivation at an increasing rate and are getting modified for better horticultural performance and appearance. The cultivated varieties of natives, also termed ‘nativars’, are now common sites in nurseries and the garden section of home improvement stores as they are being used broadly in horticulture and sometimes in restoration. As a result, vast numbers of nativars are spreading across many ecosystem types and may outnumber their wild relatives. This is particularly true in urban areas which may serve as important refugia for pollinator species. In selecting for horticulturally desirable traits (e.g. novel floral form, color, phenology), the floral attractants and rewards may have been altered or diminished. It is important to examine the relative support of these nativars as compared to their wild relatives.      During two field seasons in 2019 and 2020,  Penstemon digitalis, Rudbeckia fulgida, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium and a representative selection of their nativars were studied. The floral trait variation and pollinator support was compared and preferences of different groups of floral visitors was determined through monitoring of phenology, pollinator observations, and floral trait measurements.             While preliminary results suggest that there is no universal message regarding pollinator support between native plants and their cultivated varieties, we found that pollinator visitation favored the wild type in all species, except for Symphyotrichum oblongifolium in which case the ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ cultivar was preferred. In general, however, floral preference seems to be reliant on a combination of floral traits, rather than any one specific trait.

1 - Plant Biology and Conservation Program, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Tech F315, Evanston, IL, 60208, USA
2 - Native Plant Trust, Conservation, 180 Hemenway Road, Framingham, MA, 01701, United States
3 - Chicago Botanic Garden, CONS SCI DEPT, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL, 60022, United States


Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: RP3004
Abstract ID:137
Candidate for Awards:None

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