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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BEE DIVERSITY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE BEE POLLINATION SYSTEMS

Location: Pollinating Insects-- Biology, Management and Systematics Research

Title: Breeding biology and bee guild of Douglas' dustymaiden, Chaenactis douglasii (Asteraceae, Helenieae)

Authors
item Cane, James
item Love, Byron
item Swoboda, Katharine -

Submitted to: Western North American Naturalist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 13, 2012
Publication Date: December 15, 2012
Citation: Cane, J.H., Love, B.G., Swoboda, K. 2012. Breeding biology and bee guild of Douglas' dustymaiden, Chaenactis douglasii (Asteraceae, Helenieae). Western North American Naturalist. 72(4):563-568.

Interpretive Summary: Dusty Maiden is a widespread if inconspicuous short-lived perennial wildflower that blooms late in spring from sagebrush basins to alpine habitats throughout the Intermountain West. It is proving practical to grow for seed and is expected to be used for western rangeland rehabilitation. Through hand-pollination experiments, the species was found to be only weakly self-fertile; cross-pollination with another plant’s pollen increased seed set 4-fold, a yield that was doubled again by bee visitation to flowers. Bees were sparse at Dusty Maiden flowers, although 175 bee species are known to use its flowers. A native and manageable cavity-nesting mason bee and the honey bee appear most promising for pollinating dusty maiden where it is farmed for seed.

Technical Abstract: Dusty Maiden, Chaenactis douglasii, is a widespread if inconspicuous short-lived perennial wildflower that blooms late in spring from basin sage-steppe to upper montane areas throughout the Intermountain West. It is proving practical to grow for seed and is expected to be used for western rangeland rehabilitation. Through manual pollination experiments, the species was found to be only weakly self-fertile; only 15% of flowers from geitonogamy and autogamy treatments yielded filled achenes. In contrast, 57% of manually outcrossed flowers and 91% of freely-visited flowers in a wild population produced fertile achenes. Although it seems not to be pollinator limited, floral visitors to C. douglasii were sparse, consisting entirely of mostly generalist bees. However, museum specimens from C. douglasii comprise 175 bee species in 39 genera. A population of the manageable mesolectic cavity-nesting bee, Osmia californica, when released at one sage-steppe site, provisioned its cells primarily with pale spiny pollen resembling that of the C. douglasii growing at the site. This bee and the honey bee appear most promising for pollinating dusty maiden being farmed for seed.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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