Data from: Pollination and fruit set in two rewardless slipper orchids and their hybrids (Cypripedium, Orchidaceae): large yellow flowers outperform small white flowers in the northern tall grass prairie
Grantham, M. A.; Ford, B. A.; Worley, A. C. (2020), Data from: Pollination and fruit set in two rewardless slipper orchids and their hybrids (Cypripedium, Orchidaceae): large yellow flowers outperform small white flowers in the northern tall grass prairie, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2bg7pk5
• Species with rewardless flowers often have low fruit to flower ratios, although wide temporal and spatial variation in fruiting success can occur. We compared floral phenotypes, insect visitors, and fruiting success in four populations of the small white (Cypripedium candidum) and yellow lady’s slipper orchids (C. parviflorum) and their hybrids near the northern extent of North America’s tall grass prairie. • Flower and fruit numbers were observed for two seasons on marked individuals (n = 1811). Floral traits were measured on 82-140 individuals per taxon, and analyzed in relation to fruiting success. All insects found inside flowers were collected, inspected for pollen smears, and measured for comparison to floral features. • Among orchid taxa, C. candidum had the smallest flowers, lowest number and variety of insect visitors, and lowest fruit to flower ratios. These measures were intermediate in hybrids and highest in C. parviflorum, despite low flower numbers in the latter. Within orchid taxa, fruit number was positively related to flower number, but fruit to flower ratios decreased slightly, as would be expected if pollinators left unrewarding patches. Potential pollinators included the dipteran Odontomyia pubescens and hymenopterans Andrena spp., Apis mellifera, and Lasioglossum zonulum. • Cypripedium parviflorum had a reproductive advantage over C. candidum across multiple populations and years. Hybrids showed segregation for floral traits, and hybrid fruiting success increased with a deeper intensity of yellow pigment and larger escape routes for floral visitors. These same attributes likely contributed to the relatively high fruit set in C. parviflorum in the study region.