Floral scent in natural hybrids of Ipomopsis (Polemoniaceae) and their parental species

Mascha Bischoff, Andreas Jürgens, Diane R. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Background and AimsFloral traits, such as floral volatiles, can contribute to pre-zygotic reproductive isolation by promoting species-specific pollinator foraging. When hybrid zones form, floral traits could also influence post-zygotic isolation. This study examined floral volatiles in parental species and natural hybrids in order to explore potential scent mediation of pre-zygotic and post-zygotic isolation.MethodsFloral bouquets were analysed for the sister species Ipomopsis aggregata and I. tenuituba and their natural hybrids at two contact sites differing in both hybridization rate and temporal foraging pattern of hawkmoth pollinators. Floral volatiles were quantified in diurnal and nocturnal scent samples using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.Key ResultsThe bouquets of parental species and hybrids showed qualitative overlap. All flowers emitted similar sets of monoterpenoid, sesquiterpenoid, aliphatic and benzenoid compounds, but separated into groups defined by multivariate analysis of quantitative emissions. The parental species differed most strikingly in the nitrogenous compound indole, which was found almost exclusively in nocturnal bouquets of I. tenuituba. Natural hybrid bouquets were highly variable, and showed emission rates of several compounds that appeared transgressive. However, indole emission rates were intermediate in the hybrids compared with rates in the parents. Volatile bouquets at the contact site with lower hybridization did not show greater species specificity in overall scent emission, but I. tenuituba presented a stronger indole signal during peak hawkmoth activity at that site.ConclusionsThe two species of Ipomopsis differed in patterns of floral bouquets, with indole emitted in nocturnal I. tenuituba, but not in I. aggregata. Natural hybrid bouquets were not consistently intermediate between the parents, although hybrids were intermediate in indole emission. The indole signal could potentially serve as a hawkmoth attractant that mediates reproductive isolation both before and after hybrid formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-544
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals Of Botany
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2013


  • Floral volatiles
  • hawkmoth
  • hybrid zone
  • Ipomopsis
  • Polemoniaceae
  • reproductive isolation
  • scent


Dive into the research topics of 'Floral scent in natural hybrids of Ipomopsis (Polemoniaceae) and their parental species'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this