Mecardonia tenella (Plantaginaceae) Attracts Oil-, Perfume-, and Pollen-Gathering Bees in Southern Brazil

Simone Caroline Cappellari, Birgit Harter-Marques, Pia Aumeier, Wolf Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Floral characteristics often indicate the pollinators' functional group visiting the plant and the pollination syndromes associated with them. This idea has been challenged in the past decades due to increasing evidence that most plants, including those exhibiting floral syndromes, are visited by large arrays of species that differ in their effectiveness as pollinators. Our study focuses on Mecardonia tenella (Plantaginaceae) from the Araucaria forest of southern Brazil, which exhibits characteristics of the oil flower pollination syndrome. However, it is visited by three types of functional groups of bees: male orchid bees, oil-collecting bees, and pollen-seeking bees. The relative contribution of each functional group to the plant's reproductive success was estimated based on their pollen load, visitation frequency, and morphology. We assessed resources, phenology, and breeding system of M. tenella. Our results indicate that flowers lack nectar, but volatiles, lipids, and pollen are resources that can be gathered by visitors. This combination of floral traits and visitors' assemblage makes M. tenella a challenge to the concept of pollination syndromes. Our findings indicate that the current interactions may not reflect the circumstances under which some floral traits of this plant were selected. in Portuguese is available at.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-729
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Araucaria forest
  • Euglossa mandibularis
  • Fatty acids
  • Functional groups
  • GC-MS
  • Oil flowers
  • Orchid bees
  • Pollination syndromes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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