Plant systematics and evolution vol:225 issue:1-4 pages:103-118
We studied the interrelation between nectary structure (13 parameters), nectar characteristics (yield, chemical composition), and flower size of 11 Labiatae species in a Mediterranean shrub community near Athens, Greece. We also explored whether the above attributes are affected by the Mediterranean summer drought constraints. Our findings show that among all nectary parameters studied, nectary size and stomatal opening are the most important in (positively) shaping nectar secretion, nectary size being the most meaningful. Nectary structure is correlated to quantity of the nectar secreted, not its quality. Wide Rowers bear wide nectaries with large stomatal openings, whereas deep flowers are not related to any nectary size. Corolla size (both length and width) and nectary stomatal opening decrease with flowering time. This applies also to nectary size, nectar volume and sugar content of the perennials (9 species). Ail above cases of time dependence show that there is a constraint effect of Mediterranean climate on floral and nectary structure, reflected also as a decrease in nectar secretion. Nectary structure in Labiatae is largely shaped by both phylogenetic and climate constraints. On the other hand, although nectar is largely influenced by nectary structure, it is to a large extent ecologically biased, implying that, in addition to phylogeny, there are many other ecological parameters interfering in its secretion such as time within the season, life history, and light requirements.