Giuliani, C., Ascrizzi, R., Lupi, D., Tassera, G., Santagostini, L., Giovanetti, M., Flamini, G. & Fico, G. (2018). Salvia verticillata: Linking glandular trichomes, volatiles and pollinators.Phytochemistry, 155, 53-60. DOI:10.1016/j.phytochem.2018.07.016 (IF2016 3,205; Q1 Plant Sciences)
Plants have developed a plethora of signals to interact with other organisms, finally building up a sophisticate language for communication. In this context, we investigated Salvia verticillata L. (Lamiaceae), with the primary goal to link secondary metabolites and actual biotic relationships. We specifically analysed the volatile organic compounds (VOC) spontaneously emitted by leaves and flowers and determined the composition of the essential oils obtained from the aerial parts across 2015 and 2016. We merged information of chemical analyses to a micromorphological investigation on the glandular indumentum and to focal observations on the pollinator assemblage.
The VOC profiles were highly variable, with the floral bouquet being the most complex. Flowers and leaves showed 37 and 20 exclusive compounds, dominated by 1,8-cineole (10.4%) and germacrene D (38.4%), respectively. Sesquiterpenehydrocarbons prevailed (83.3% leaves; 73.7% flowers) and 19 common compounds were detected.
The oil profiles proved to be consistent across the two years: sesquiterpene hydrocarbons invariably dominated, with germacrene D, bicyclogermacrene and β-caryophyllene as main compounds.
The whole plant epidermis is thickly covered by two types of glandular hairs: peltates and small capitates, both responsible for the synthesis of terpenes, finally resulting in the VOC emission and in the essential oil production
S. verticillata attracted mainly bees belonging to two functional groups: medium-sized and large bees, notwithstanding the small size of its flowers. At the site, Apis mellifera and different Bombusspecies were recorded, mainly interested in feeding on nectar. The literature survey on the isolated volatile compounds confirmed the hypotheses on the seduction strategies towards Apoidea.