Effectiveness of native bumblebees as pollinators of the alien invasive plant Impatiens glandulifera (Balsaminaceae) in Ireland

Caroline Nienhuis, Jane Stout


Flowers of alien invasive plants can be pollen limited due to a lack of effective pollinators. The alien Impatiens glandulifera is predominantly visited by bumblebees in its invaded range. There bumblebees pollinate I. glandulifera, but it remains unclear whether foraging behaviour or bumblebee or flower morphology affects effectiveness. We investigated the effectiveness of native bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) pollinators in Ireland by quantifying pollen deposition and removal, and seed production after a single bumblebee visit. Morphological characteristics of flowers and bumblebee body parts were measured to determine their influence on pollen deposition and removal. B. pascuorum is a highly effective pollinator of the alien due to its high visitation frequency, the morphological fit with flowers and individuals removing large pollen quantities and inducing maximum seed set after a single visit. The impact of native bumblebees on I. glandulifera pollination and the implications of the pollination mechanism of the alien for its successful spread are discussed.


Alien plant; <I>Bombus pascuorum</I>; pollen deposition; pollen removal; morphological matching

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ISSN 1920-7603


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