Mating patterns in heterostylous species with intramorph compatibility have the potential to deviate from symmetrical disassortative mating owing to ecological and reproductive factors influencing pollen dispersal. Here, we investigate potential and realized patterns of mating in distylous Luculia pinceana (Rubiaceae), a species with intramorph compatibility. Our analysis provides an opportunity to test Darwin's hypothesis that reciprocal herkogamy promotes disassortative pollen transfer. We combined measurements of sex-organ reciprocity and pollen production to predict potential pollen transfer and mating patterns in a population from SW China. Marker-based paternity analysis was then used to estimate realized patterns of disassortative and assortative mating at the individual and floral morph levels. Both potential and realized mating patterns indicated a significant component of disassortative mating, satisfying theoretical conditions for the maintenance of floral dimorphism. Levels of assortative mating (37.7%) were significantly lower than disassortative mating (62.3%), but numerous offspring resulting from intramorph mating were detected in the majority of maternal seed families in both floral morphs. Our results provide empirical support for Darwin's cross-promotion hypothesis on the function of reciprocal herkogamy, but indicate that in most heterostylous species strong diallelic incompatibility may be a general requirement for complete disassortative mating.
National Key Basic Research Program of China [2014CB954100]
; National Natural Science Foundation of China [31320103919, 31200289]
; Key Research Program of the Chinese Academic of Sciences [KJZD-EW-L07]
; Natural Science Foundation of Yunnan Province [2012FB182]
; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada