Passiflora Bat Pollination

There are around 600 species of passionflowers, but only 8 have been described as having bat-pollinated flowers. All the bat-pollinated passionflowers show a short corona and a long, curved androgynophore. We have studied the development of these flowers and we found out that androgynophore bending occurs very late during flower bud development and is an auxin-dependent phenomenon. The InnerWorld of Passionflowers showcases the work of Marcelo Dornelas and his research group at Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil.

This picture shows a bat (Anoura caudifer) pollinating a Passiflora ovalisflower (Photo credit: Prof. Ivan Sazima (UNICAMP, Brazil)).

This movie about Passiflora mucronata, a bat-pollinated passionflower, shows that androgynophore bending, a characteristic feature of all bat-pollinated passionflowers, occurs late during flower development. We thank Prof. Ivan Sazima (UNICAMP, Brazil) for the picture of a bat (Glossophaga soricina) pollinating a flower of a Passiflora mucronata plant growing in the “restinga”, a type of vegetation typical from some regions of the Brazilian coast. This type of picture is hard to get as the flowers open only after 1:00 AM and the bats visit the flowers for less than 1 second. We also show X-ray microtomography images obtained from freshly collected flowers and floral buds of Passiflora mucronata.

This image shows a botanical print of Passiflora albida from Edwards’ Botanical Register (vol.8 (1823), plate 677) from the John Innes Centre Historical Collection. Passiflora albida is a synonym of “Passiflora mucronata. For more Passionflowers in the John Innes Centre Historical Collection please follow this link


Auxin and physical constraint exerted by the perianth promote androgynophore bending in Passiflora mucronata L. (Passifloraceae).