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Data from: Papilio butterfly vs. hawkmoth pollination explains floral syndrome dichotomy in a clade of Lilium


Liu, Chang-Qiu (2021), Data from: Papilio butterfly vs. hawkmoth pollination explains floral syndrome dichotomy in a clade of Lilium, Dryad, Dataset,


This dataset contains data described in the paper recently accepted by Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society:“ Liu C-Q, Niu Y, Lu Q-B, Chen Z, Cai B, Fang Y, Gao Y-D. (2021) Papilio butterfly vs. hawkmoth pollination explains floral syndrome dichotomy in a clade of Lilium".

The Leucolirion  clade of Lilium contains species with either tepal-recurved or trumpet-shaped flowers. We hypothesized that the tepal-recurved flowers  might be pollinated by butterflies and/or birds while the trumpet-shaped flowers might permit visitation by a variety of hawkmoths. Lilium leucanthum has trumpet shaped flowers, and some populations of this species show dark coloration on the floral outer surface, suggesting pollination by mammals. We examined the dependence of reproduction on pollinators by pollen load analysis and pollination experiments. We also analysed floral traits to contrast the two floral syndromes involving different lepidopteran groups.
The tepal-recurved lilies delivered pollen by Papilio butterflies with pollen predominantly attached to the hindwings. The trumpet-shaped flowers attracted diverse species with proboscises of different lengths. Self-incompatibility prevails throughout the clade. Exclusion of lepidopteran visitors resulted in very low seed set. The butterfly- and hawkmoth-pollinated species display contrasting floral syndromes. Thus, the dichotomy in floral syndrome, including nectar, color, and morphology in the Leucolirion clade is associated with Papilio butterfly vs. hawkmoth pollination. Intraspecific variation in colour of the floral outer surface of L. leucanthum  was also confirmed by our measurements.
These data can be used in further research on the floral ecology and evolution of Lilium and may also be needed in reviews of flower-hawkmoth interactions and hawkmoth biology.


Flower visitor observations were conducted directly by researchers working in the field. Pollination treatments were conducted in the field using randomly chosen individuals. Floral morphology and moth proboscises were measured by plastic rulers or digital callipers. Pollen load analysis were investigated by capturing flower visitors. Floral colour in terms of reflectance spectra was measured using a spectrometer (Flame), equipped with a UV-visble light source (DH-2000, both by Ocean Optics Inc., Dunedin, FL, USA). See the text of the article for more details.

Usage Notes

The readme file contains the explanations of abbreviations, measurement units for each variable, and the results of reflectance spectra. Information on how the measurements were done can be found in the associated manuscript referenced above. We filled some cells in these XLSX with n/a, because numbers of duplicates could not be subjectively determined in the field so disequilibrium of sample sizes was inevitable.   

Floral traits” includes data on nectar and morphology. Each flower was measured for both concentration and length in an glass capillary, which are presented in a pair of neighbouring cells with one above and the other one below. Length can be used to work out the volume: volume = π × r2 × length. In the morphology sheet, tepal length and tepal curvature each for each flower were presented in a pair of cells with one on the right and the other one on the left.

Hawkmoth proboscis length” presents data on measured individuals of 10 species (mm).

Pollen loads on butterflies” shows the numbers of pollen grains attached to different parts of a butterfly visiting Lilium rosthornii or Lilium henryi.

Pollination treatments” shows data on the numbers of ovules and seeds in the fruits used in pollination treatments. The numbers of ovules and seeds in each fruit are given in a pair of neighbouring cells with one above and the other one below. Ovules” means those that failed to develop into a seed with a embryo, which could clearly be seen by the naked eye.

"Reflectance spectra" represent the results of floral tepal reflectance spectra.