Botany: Specialized bird perch aids cross-pollination

@article{Anderson2005BotanySB,
  title={Botany: Specialized bird perch aids cross-pollination},
  author={Bruce Anderson and William W. Cole and Spencer C. H. Barrett},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2005},
  volume={435},
  pages={41-42}
}
Birds may hover over or perch on flowers when feeding on nectar, and this assists cross-pollination if they then visit other plants. Here we investigate the curious sterile inflorescence axis of the South African Cape endemic ‘rat's tail’ plant (Babiana ringens, Iridaceae), whose function — unlike in other bird-pollinated plants — is exclusively to provide a perch for foraging birds. We find that this structure promotes the plant's mating success by causing the malachite sunbird (Nectarinia… 
Adding Perches for Cross-Pollination Ensures the Reproduction of a Self-Incompatible Orchid
TLDR
This work found that self-incompatible C. rigida developed specialized bird perches around the basal axis of inflorescence to attract sunbirds and to complement their behavioral tendency to change foraging locations frequently, providing a novel and striking example of structural adaptation that promotes cross-pollination in angiosperms.
Experimental evidence for bird pollination and corolla damage by ants in the short-tubed flowers of Erica halicacaba (Ericaceae)
TLDR
Findings indicate that considerable caution should be applied when attempting to predict pollinators from floral syndromes, and highlight the role that crawling insects can play in damaging flowers.
Shift from bird to butterfly pollination in Clivia (Amaryllidaceae).
TLDR
It is apparent that a shift took place from bird- to butterfly pollination in Clivia, accompanied by the evolution of trumpet-shaped flowers, smaller nectar volume, and emission of scent, while flower color and nectar chemistry do not appear to have been substantially modified.
Bird-pollinated flowers in an evolutionary and molecular context.
TLDR
The strong convergent evolution evident in bird-pollinated flowers raises a question about the nature of the genetic mechanisms underlying such transitions and whether the same gene systems are involved in most cases.
African sunbirds hover to pollinate an invasive hummingbird-pollinated plant
TLDR
The invasion into Africa of a plant adapted for pollination by hovering hummingbirds greatly increases the local abundance of sunbirds compared with uninvaded areas, and flowers visited by sunbirds formed significantly more capsules and set significantly more seed than sunbird-excluded flowers, possibly facilitating the invasion.
Sunbird pollination of the dioecious root parasite Cytinus sanguineus (Cytinaceae)
TLDR
Copious, diluted nectar from narrowly tubular floral nectaries and high fruit set regardless of spatial separation of male and female flowers indicates efficient pollination.
The effect of mammalian herbivory on inflorescence architecture in ornithophilous Babiana (Iridaceae): implications for the evolution of a bird perch.
TLDR
The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that position-dependent herbivory on inflorescences could have played a role in the evolution of inflorescence design, and may have selected for the loss of apical flowers.
Pollination and breeding system of the enigmatic South African parasitic plant Mystropetalon thomii (Mystropetalaceae): rodents welcome, but not needed.
TLDR
It is found that flowers on both monoecious and gynoecious inflorescences readily set seed in the absence of rodents and even when all flower visitors are excluded, suggesting that seed production occurs at least partially through apomixis and that M. thomii is not ecologically dependent on its rodent pollinators.
Radiation of pollination systems in the Iridaceae of sub-Saharan Africa.
TLDR
Diversity of pollination systems explains in part the huge species diversity of Iridaceae in sub-Saharan Africa, and permits species packing locally.
The natural history of pollination and mating in bird-pollinated Babiana (Iridaceae).
TLDR
Experimental pollinations demonstrated that B. ringens and B. avicularis were self-compatible with variation in levels of autonomous self-pollination and weak or no pollen limitation of seed set, in contrast, B. hirsuta was self-incompatible and chronically pollen limited.
...
1
2
3
4
5
...

References

SHOWING 1-5 OF 5 REFERENCES
Bird-Flowers: Hovering Versus Perching Exploitation
TLDR
The proposal is made to distinguish between blossoms adapted to hovering birds and those providing a well-defined perch, including the different ways a perch is provided by the plant and the distinct methods of hover-flight in birds.
Ecology and evolution of plant mating.
TLDR
Recent work on the relation between pollen dispersal and mating suggests that many features of floral design traditionally interpreted as anti-selling mechanisms may function to reduce the mating costs associated with large floral displays.
Evidence of bird pollination in Iridaceae of southern Africa
TLDR
La pollinisation par les oiseaux dans d'autres membres of the famille est suggeree pour plusieurs especes de Gladiolus d'Afrique tropicale and d'Arabie, ainsi que pour quatre espece de Tigridia (Iridoideae) du Mexique et d'Amerique centrale.
declared none
  • Corrigendum Animal behaviour: Elephants are capable of vocal learning J. H. Poole, P. L. Tyack, A. S. Stoeger-Horwath, S. Watwood Nature 434, 455–456 doi:10.1038/434455a
  • 2005