Great Basin Naturalist


A population of Penstemon pseudospectabilis M. E. Jones (Scrophulariaceae) on Cave Creek in Cochise County, Arizona, was used in an experimental test of reproductive fitness with three caging treatments: all flying pollinators excluded, hummingbirds excluded, and no exclusion. Twenty plants were chosen and three shoots on each used in the experiment. The flowers were 25.6 (s.d. = 1.5) mm long, the end diameter was 8.5 (s.d. = 1.0) mm, the tube opening was 6.5 (s.d. = 1.0) mm, and the greatest diameter, 75% distal from the receptacle, was 10.1 (s.d. = 0.8) mm (N= 59). Floral nectar contained 11.7% (s.d. = 2.9%) fructose, 13.8% (s.d. = 2.7%) glucose, and 74.5% (s.d. = 5.4%) sucrose (N = 74). There was some evidence, significant only for fructose, that nectar-sugar composition varies between morning and evening. Larger floral dimensions were correlated with lower sucrose and higher hexoses. Casual observation showed Xylocopa sp., small bees, flies, and hummingbirds to be visitors. There was no sign of nectar robbing. Five percent of flowers set seed with all pollen vectors excluded, 44% with hummingbirds excluded, and 63% with no exclusion. Seed set per fruit was 2 with all excluded, 23 with hummingbirds excluded, and 46 with no exclusion. Mean seed set on pollinated flowers was 60, with a range of 2 to 192. Multiple linear regression showed the fraction of fruit setting seed when hummingbirds were excluded to be related to larger flower diameters and shorter flowers. With no pollinator exclusion, fruits setting seed were related to larger diameters and nectar fructose. For seeds per fruit, multiple regression gave similar, but less clear, results. We conclude that P. pseudospectabilis is pollinated by both bees and hummingbirds, with other pollinators not to be excluded as possible contributors. We found no hard evidence of selective forces currently at work.