Document Type


Publication Date



Species interactions are known to be key in driving patterns of biodiversity across the globe. Plant-plant interactions through heterospecific pollen (HP) transfer by their shared pollinators is common and has consequences for plant reproductive success and floral evolution, and thus has the potential to influence global patterns of biodiversity and plant community assembly. The literature on HP transfer is growing and it is therefore timely to review patterns and causes of among-species variation in HP receipt at a global scale, thus uncovering its potential contribution to global patterns of biodiversity. Here we analyzed published data on 245 species distributed across five continents to evaluate latitudinal and altitudinal patterns of HP receipt. We further analyzed the role of floral symmetry and evolutionary history in mediating patterns of HP receipt. Latitude and elevation affected the likelihood and intensity of HP receipt indicating that HP transfer increases in species-rich communities and in areas with high abundance of vertebrate pollinators. Floral symmetry and evolutionary history determined HP load size across plant communities worldwide. Overall, our results suggest that HP receipt may have the potential to contribute to global geographic patterns of plant diversity by imposing strong selective pressures in species-rich areas across the globe.

Copyright Statement

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit © Te Author(s) 2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.