Taraxacum officinale pollen depresses seed set of montane wildflowers through pollen allelopathy
Plant species that share pollinators can suffer from interspecific pollen deposition. Male reproductive success is inevitably reduced by the loss of pollen to flowers of another species. Female reproductive success can be affected by reduced stigmatic area or, more strongly, through allelopathic effects by which the admixture of some foreign pollen reduces seed or fruit set. We tested for allelopathic effects of Taraxacum officinale (Asteracaeae) pollen on the seed set of montane wildflowers Erythronium grandiflorum (Liliaceae) and Erysimum capitatum (Brassicaceae), by hand-pollinating plants with pollen mixtures. Taraxacum is a common invasive species, which produces allelopathic chemicals in its root and vegetative tissue, making it a likely candidate for pollen allelopathy. Flowers of both species produced fewer well-developed seeds when pollinated with pollen mixtures containing Taraxacum pollen. The pollen-allelopathic potential of weedy dandelion may add to its ability to disrupt communities that it invades.
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