Evolution of pollen and pistil morphologies in Mercurialis annua after experimental evolution at low- and high-density

Published: 25 July 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/v9rsxb8yt2.1
Jeanne Tonnabel,
Pascal Cosette,
Arnaud Lehner,
Jean-Claude Mollet,
Mohamed Amine Ben Mlouka,
Lucija Grladinovic,
Patrice DAVID,
John Pannell


The dataset corresponds to an evaluation of the evolutionary consequences in terms of the morphology of pollen and pistils, growth dynamics of pollen and pollen production after the evolution at low- versus high-density of plants from the wind-pollinated dioecious plant Mercurialis annua. Our previous work had shown that increased plant density elevates the degree of polyandry such that this dataset permits to test hypotheses related to the effect of sexual selection on pollen and pistil traits. In brief, the plants analysed correspond to experimental evolution lines of M. annua, which have underwent three generations either at low- or high-density (five populations each). After their independent evolution at the contrasted density, seeds resulting from each of those lines were grown in a common garden in which we have evaluated pistil morphology, pollen morphology, pollen growing dynamics and pollen production. Pollen and pistil were harvested on male and female plants and we followed protocols described in the associated publication to evaluate their traits. The dataset is divided in five different sheets : (1) the first sheet ‘read_me’ provides a general description of data described in the other four sheets (see below) and a description of each variable displayed in the four sheets that present the data. (2) the second sheet ‘pistil_morphological_data’ show the data corresponding to the measurements of pistils harvested on females corresponding to our evolutionary lines at low and high density. (3) the third sheet ‘pollen_morphological_data’ provides the data of the measurements of pollen grain and tubes of pollen that was harvested on males of our evolutionary lines. (4) the fourth sheet ‘pollen_germination_data’ provides the counts of pollen that had germinated or not, as well as the pollen density on the slide, after four hours of incubation in the growth medium for male plants from our evolutionary lines. (5) the fifth sheet ‘pollen_weight_data’ provides the data of the weighting of fresh pollen harvested from eight males from the evolutionary lines at low and high density.



Universite de Lausanne, CNRS Delegation Languedoc-Roussillon


Character Evolution