Institute of Plant Sciences

Plant Genetics and Development


Understanding the causes of stable nectar production in flowering plants has been a major challenge. Much remains to be learned about the costs and benefits of nectar production in flowering plants. Our novel use of a low-nectar introgression line allows for comparative cost-benefit analysis of nectar production in a single species. We have demonstrated that reduced nectar production in P. axillaris causes reduced seed set under greenhouse conditions, and that this reduction is a function of decreased pollinator probing duration.

Comparison of mean number of seeds

Seed Set of P. axillaris and Low-Nectar Line F25 (A) Comparison of mean number of seeds per capsule of low-nectar line F25 and P. axillaris with standard error, in both hand-pollinated and M. sexta-pollinated treatments. (B) Linear regression model revealing positive relationship between hawkmoth probing time and number of seeds produced per flower.