Submitted to: Madrono
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/23/2004
Publication Date: 4/23/2004
Citation: Tepedino, V.J., Messinger, S.M. 2004. Cymopterus beckii, a rare protogynous umbellifer of capital reef national park, central Utah. Madrono. 51(3:271-274.
Interpretive Summary: Pinnate spring parsley (Cymopterus beckii) is a small rare plant in the carrot family that is found only in Capital Reef National Park, and a few other sites in Utah and Arizona. It is unusual in that each plant produces two kinds of flowers, those that are males, and those that, like most flowering plants, produce male and female parts. It is also a member of an unusual group of plants in the carrot family that mature their female parts before their male parts (protogyny) rather than the reverse (protandry). We found that, like other members of this group of plants, C. beckii is protogynous, but that the ratios of male to female flowers is much lower than in other species in this group. We believe that this is a mechanism to increase the chances that flowers are cross- rather than self-pollinated. As with most members of this group, C. beckii, is visited by a wide variety of potential insect pollinators.
Technical Abstract: Protogyny in an andromonoecious apioid, Cymopterus beckii, is described. This rare western endemic of Capital Reef National Park, and a few other sites in Utah and Arizona, is unusual in producing only inflorescences with simple primary umbels; secondary and tertiary umbels are absent. Outer florets of umbels produce significantly higher percentages of hermaphrodite flowers than do inner florets. Overall, about 1.5 staminate florets are produced for each hermaphrodite floret. Within umbels, dichogamy is complete: female parts of hermaphrodite flowers throughout the umbel mature first, followed by males. The small florets are visited by a variety of flies, beetles, wasps and bees, few of which appear to carry pollen. Bees in the family Halictidae may the most important pollinators but additional studies are required to establish this.