Reproductive biology of Faidherbia albida (Del.) A. Chev
Phenology, flowering and fructification were studied in 5 natural populations of Faidherbia albida in a semi-arid zone in Senegal. In this species, the inflorescence acts as the reproductive unit; the basal flowers, opening first, have a low rate of fertilisation; the maximum rate of fertilisation (65%) was obtained in the apical flowers. Stigmatic receptivity, tested by esterasic reaction, was maximal immediately after anthesis. Stigmata of F. albida can bear simultaneously 2 or 3 polyads. Controlled pollination revealed that allogamy is the dominant reproductive system (ISI = 0.2) in natural populations of F. albida. Intra-specific variability in selfing (ISI ranging from 0 to 0.54) was also observed. Despite of the complete reproductive mechanism during flowering, only a small number of ripe pods (1.25%) is produced, and an average of 70% of the ovules per carpel are fertilized.
Received 1 September 2000 Accepted 7 July 2003 Published 31 December 2003