Low Fruit Set, Pollen Limitation and the Roles of Birds and Insects in Pollination of Native New Zealand Plants.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Pollination and fruit set of four species of native New Zealand flowering plant species were examined through two field seasons. Bird exclusion, pollinator exclusion, natural and supplemental pollination treatments were initiated on individuals of Cordyline australis (Cabbage tree), Phormium tenax (Flax), Kunzea ericoides (Kanuka), and Pseudopanax arboreus (Five-finger). The species differed in the self-compatibility as well as in their floral syndrome. No species showed any evidence of pollen limitation, and two species. K. ericoides and P. arboreus set fruit from more than 70% of their flowers. The response of fruit set to treatment in C. australis varied from season to season, with birds appearing important to pollination in the first but not the second field season, while birds were important in pollination across both seasons for P. tenax. K. ericoides was resilient to treatment, setting high fruit set in every treatment, compared to P. arboreus which set high fruit set when pollinators had access, but low when all pollinators were excluded. No trends relating to fruit set or PLI and self-compatibility or floral syndrome were found. That there was no evidence of pollen limitation for any species, despite variation in fruit set from some treatments, indicates that these species are performing well and not at risk of decreased population size due to pollen limitation.