The study organism
Echinacea angustifolia is an herbaceous perennial, native to the tallgrass prairie and plains of North America. It shares numerous characteristics with other native prairie plants.
- Asteraceae. Echinacea is in the composite family--an important group in the prairie
- Long-lived. Plants rarely flower before their third year and then don't flower every year.
- Reproduces only by seed. Echinacea is taprooted and doesn't spread vegetatively
- Limited seed dispersal. The fruits have no specialized means of dispersal
- Generalist pollinators. The main visitors are a diverse group of native solitary generalist bees.
- Self-incompatible. For a plant to set seed it needs pollen from another plant. And that pollen grain must have different S-alleles from the seed plant.