Pollination ecology of Derris trifoliata (Fabaceae), a mangrove associate in Coringa Mangrove Forest, Andhra Pradesh, India

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A.J. Solomon Raju
Rajendra Kumar


Derris trifoliata is a perennial woody climber.  It blooms massively for about two weeks in July/August. The flowers are hermaphroditic, feebly protandrous, self-compatible and display a vector dependent mixed breeding system.  They close back by the end of the day of anthesis.  The forenoon anthesis and pollen and nectar as rewards attract daytime foragers.  The nectar feeding foragers require strength to depress the keel petals in order to collect nectar; only those foragers which have the required strength to do so can collect nectar and in the process trip the floral mechanism and effect pollination. When floral explosion occurs, the pollen is somewhat exposed and the pollen feeding foragers then collect it.  Both long- and short-tongued bees trip the flowers, collect nectar and effect pollination. Individual flowers that were not tripped by insects set fruit to negligible level.  In open-pollination mode, fruit set rate is up to 30-31% only despite the flowers being visited by insect pollinators.  Fruits mature quickly within a month.  Each fruit contains 1-3 seeds against 6 linearly arranged ovules in the ovary.  The fruits are leathery and possess air cavities, the characteristics of which enable them to float in tidal water.  They settle at the parent plant if the site is partly or fully exposed or float for dispersal if the site is inundated with tidal water.  Seed release occurs when fruits absorb water and the pericarp breaks.  Seeds germinate only when they reach a suitable habitat in mangroves.  


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Author Biographies

A.J. Solomon Raju, Department of Environmental Sciences, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530003, India

Dr. Aluri Jacob Solomon Raju is a Professor of Environmental Sciences in Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India. He was the Head of the Department during 2009-2012. He was the Visiting Professor of University of Colima, Mexico. He was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Akron, USA for a period of two years. He has conducted extensive field work in Olympic Mountains, Colorado Rocky Mountains, Siskiyu Mountains, Yosemite National Park, Yellostone National Park and Grand Teton Mountains in connection with reproductive biology of an arctic-alpine genus Pedicularis and its conservation and management aspects. Further, he has also conducted field research in Mexico. He has published more than 300 research papers, participated and presented scores of research papers at more than 50 national and more than 30 International conferences held in India and abroad. He visited USA, Canada, UK, Brazil, Paraguay, Italy, Mexico, France, Germany, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Ethiopia and Tanzania. In recognition of his superior record of scholarship, he was awarded Distinguished Achievement Award by the University of Akron, USA. He is also the recipient of Best Research Award and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Best Academician Award of Andhra University, Loyola Environmental Award from Loyola College, Chennai and Andhra Pradesh Scientist Award from Andhra Pradesh Council of Science & Technology, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh. He successfully completed a number of major research projects on the Eastern Ghats Forests funded by ICAR, UGC, DST, CSIR, DBT and MoEF. He was the Expert member of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India in sanctioning the research projects. He has also worked on biodiesel plants such as Pongamia and Jatropha and work on these plants laid foundation for others to initiate work in commercial lines. He has also published ten books on various subjects published by national and international publishers. Twenty Ph.Ds and 10 M.Phils were awarded under his guidance. Further, he is currently serving as a resource person for All India Radio, TV Channels, Consultant for issues relating to conservation biology and environment. Further, he is currently operating All India Coordinated Research Project on the endangered species of Eastern Ghats funded by MoEF, on reproductive ecology of Coringa Mangrove Forest funded by MoEF and on reproductive ecology of rare plants of Eastern Ghats funded by CSIR, New Delhi. He is an expert-cum-reviewer for scores of scientific journals published by Elsevier, Springer publishers, Indian Publishers, US Publishers and African Publishers. He is the Chief Editor of Advances in Pollen-Spore Research and Guest Editor of Journal of Palynology.


Rajendra Kumar, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Mr. Rajendra Kumar is currently working as Research Officer in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi.  He has published six research papers.


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