Reproductive biology of the endangered medicinal

  • J M Were
  • M Mujunga
  • A J Simons
  • L Dawson
  • S Ruigu


Prunus africana (hook. f.) kalkm was evaluated for percentage fruit set after open and artificial pollination, pollen viability and receptivity of the stigma and flowering time in the central highlands of Kenya. Other evaluated aspects were the floral traits (size, shape, and colour), flowering period and floral visitors. The species was both selffertile and out-crossing. It had a short flowering time (flowering was observed throughout the year). The highest pollen viability was more than 90%. The stigma was receptive from day 1 before and after anthesis. Field experiment that showed cross-pollination set more fruit than self-pollination. Pollen transfer (from anther to stigma) must be facilitated, therefore vectors are necessary for its success. Insect pollinators made more visits to and visited more flowers on plants with many flowers. However, visits per flower did not vary with flower number, indicating that visitation was proportional to the number of flowers per plant. Bees contributed 21% to the flower visits recorded in Tigoni. Other frequent visitors were wasps, hoverflies (6%), ants (2%), and sunbirds - Nectarinia spp. (11.2%). The flowers are zygomorphic. They opened from 0830 to 1300 h and were only visited by diurnally active insects. Anthesis occurs during daytime and honeybees (Apis mellifera) and carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp) for both pollen and nectar abundantly visit the open flowers. Fruit and flower are predated by speckled mousebird (Colius striatus) and greenbuls (andropadus spp.).

How to Cite
Were, J., Mujunga, M., Simons, A., Dawson, L., & Ruigu, S. (2008). Reproductive biology of the endangered medicinal. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 67(1&2). Retrieved from