• Dötterl, Stefan
  • Wolfe, Lorne M.
  • Jürgens, Andreas


The quantitative and qualitative variability in floral scent of 98 specimens of the dioecious species Silene latifolia belonging to 15 European and 19 North American populations was determined. Floral scent was collected from single flowers using dynamic headspace methods, and analysed by Micro-SPE and GC-MS methods. The flowers showed a nocturnal rhythm, and scent was emitted only at night. The amount of emitted volatiles varied greatly during the season, from 400 ng/flower/2 min in June to 50 ng/flower/2 min in August and September. The qualitative variability in the floral scent was high and different chemotypes, characterised by specific scent compounds, were found. Female and male flowers emitted the same type and amount of volatiles. The differences in floral scent composition between European and North American populations were small. Typical compounds were isoprenoids like lilac aldehyde isomers, or trans-β-ocimene, and benzenoids like benzaldehyde, phenyl acetaldehyde, or veratrole. Some of these compounds are known to attract nocturnal Lepidoptera species. The high qualitative variability is discussed in relation to the pollination biology of S. latifolia, and the results are compared with other studies investigating intraspecific variability of flower scent.