One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The condition (e.g. in primroses) of having styles of different lengths relative to the stamens in the flowers of different individual plants, to reduce self-fertilization.
- ‘Flowering plants have several mechanisms that have evolved to prevent self-fertilization, e.g. self-incompatibility systems, heterostyly and dichogamy.’
- ‘Darwin's correlation between the phenotype and the cross-compatibility of the two forms of flower provided the foundation for subsequent analyses of heterostyly in Primula.’
- ‘One of the earliest hypothesized and widely known cases of a coadapted gene complex in plants is that of heterostyly.’
- ‘Tylosema, in the tribe Cercideae, has been little investigated but heterostyly, unknown elsewhere in the Fabaceae, has been reported in all four species of the genus.’
- ‘Although gender specialization is not a regular feature of heterostyly, reproductive differences between morphs has been reported for most studied distylous species.’
Late 19th century: from hetero- ‘different’ + Greek stulos ‘column’ + -y.
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