Pollination of The Ornamental Orchid Oncidium sphacelatum By the Naturalized Oil-Collecting Bee (Centris nitida) in Florida


deception orchid
rewardless flowers

How to Cite

Pemberton, R. W. (2008). Pollination of The Ornamental Orchid Oncidium sphacelatum By the Naturalized Oil-Collecting Bee (Centris nitida) in Florida. Selbyana, 29(1), 87–91. Retrieved from https://ojs.test.flvc.org/selbyana/article/view/121215


The recently naturalized oil-collecting bee Centris nítida pollinates the cultivated Oncidium sphacelatum in southern Florida. Female C. nitida bees seeking food are the pollinators of this food deceit orchid, which appears to mimic species of Malpighiaceae, which have oil rewards collected by the bee. The fruit set rate ranged from 0.54% to 3.0% and averaged 1.49%, which is many times higher than the 0.0% and 0.25% reported for this orchid in its native Mexico. The many capsules produced (66 fruits in the three large exposed plants in this study) contain many millions of seed. The large number of seeds produced could promote the naturalization of O. sphacelatum in Florida if suitable mycorrhizae are present. Centris nítida and O. sphacelatum are broadly sympatric in tropical America and may interact in their native area. Centris nítida and Euglossa viridissima (an orchid bee which has also recently naturalized in southern Florida) are participants in pollination webs involving many plants including native, ornamental, naturalized, and invasive plants.


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