Pollination and protection against herbivory of Nepalese Coelogyninae (Orchydaceae).

A. Subedi, R.P. Chaudhar, C. Achterberg, Th. Heijerman, F. Lens, T.J.M. van Dooren, B. Gravendeel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


• Premise of the Study: Although many species in the orchid genus Coelogyne are horticulturally popular, hardly anything is known about their pollination. Pollinators of three species were observed in the field in Nepal. This information is urgently needed because many orchid species in Nepal are endangered. Whether the exudates produced by extrafloral nectaries played a role in protection against herbivory was also investigated. • Methods: Pollinators of C. flaccida, C. nitida, and Otochilus albus were filmed, captured, and identified. Ant surveys and exclusion experiments were carried out. To investigate whether pollinators are needed for fruit set, plants were wrapped in mesh wire bags. Inflorescence stems were examined with microscopy. Fehling’s reagent was used to detect sugars in extrafloral exudates. • Key Results: Coelogyne flaccida and C. nitida need pollinators to set fruit and are pollinated by wild bees identified as Apis cerana. Otochilus albus was found to be pollinated by Bombus kashmirensis. Extrafloral nectar was found to be exuded by nectary-modified stomata and contained high amounts of sugars. Different species of ants were observed collecting these exudates. A significant difference was found in damage inflicted by flower and leaf-eating beetles between C. nitida plants living in trees with ant nests and those in ant-free trees. • Conclusions: Floral syndromes include scented and colored trap flowers without reward to their pollinators. All orchids investigated exude extrafloral nectar by nectary-modified stomata. This nectar was found to flow from the phloem to the stomata through intercellular spaces in the outer parenchymatous layer of the inflorescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1103
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • extrafloral nectaries
  • insect herbivores
  • visiting ants
  • fruit-set
  • foliar
  • deterrence
  • mutualism
  • fitness


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