Turkish Journal of Botany




Endemic and relict species are of particular interest when evaluating the ecological intactness of a given area. In this paper, the reproductive ecology of Seseli ghafoorianum (Apiaceae) is investigated, aiming to contribute to its protection. The species is considered as a Tertiary relict species in Iran. Both dwarf form and cliff habitats are rare in the family, raising the question of how the plant has adapted to this environment. Population structure, plant architecture and flowering sequence, pollinators, pollen quantification, and seed set (bagging experiment) were investigated. Individuals produce about 20 flowering branches with ca. 120 umbels. Flowers and umbels are protandrous. The female stage of the terminal umbels usually overlaps the maleness of the 1st order umbels promoting geitonogamy. The pollen/ovule ratio is about 30,000:1, indicating outcrossing. The degree of andromonoecy (>70%) and pollen vitality (~90%) indicate that pollen availability is not a limiting factor. In contrast, fruit set is low (~7%). It depends on the presence of pollinators (Lasioglossum), which is low, most likely due to the use of pesticides. The population furthermore suffers from the low survival rate of seedlings (0.02%). S. ghafoorianum appears to be an outcrossing species suffering from low pollinator and survival rates. To protect the species, use of pesticides and grazing should be reduced.


Apiaceae, reproductive ecology, dwarf, protection, rocky cliffs, Seseli ghafoorianum

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