Native pollinator management may be a key to improving fruit set in Tasmanian Mountain Pepper, Tasmannia lanceolata (Winteraceae), an emerging spice resource
Wilson, MD and Latinovic, A and Davies, NW and McQuillan, PB and Menary, RC, Native pollinator management may be a key to improving fruit set in Tasmanian Mountain Pepper, Tasmannia lanceolata (Winteraceae), an emerging spice resource, Journal of Crop Improvement, 32, (3) pp. 331-352. ISSN 1542-7528 (2018) [Refereed Article]
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Tasmanian Mountain Pepper is a new crop that produces a valuable flavoring agent derived from its fruit. However, annual yields are unpredictable and its commercial prospects depend upon a reliable fruit set. As poor pollination is a possible cause, the pollination biology of this dioecious plant was examined in natural and plantation settings using direct observations, sticky traps, gas chromatography, and microscopy. A community of small insects visits the flowers, and the insect species represent at least seven families of small flies, three families of beetles, and various wasps and moths. Pollen grains were observed on the bodies of bibionid flies (Bibionidae), syrphid flies (Syrphidae), and snail-flies (Sciomyzidae). The tetrahedral tetrad pollen grains are unlikely to be suitable for dispersal by wind. Similar volatiles were emitted by both males and females; several ocimene compounds are attractants for insect pollen vectors. The female flowers also emitted indole, a known fly attractant. It is therefore likely that Tasmannia lanceolata is dependent on the services of diverse insects, especially Diptera, for promoting fruit set. Plantations should be established in the vicinity of biodiverse native vegetation that supports a wide variety of native flying insects capable of transferring pollen.
biodiversity, Diptera, floral head-space, new crop development, pollination