J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (8): 1024-1030.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00691.x

Special Issue: Ecology and Global Changes Sexual Reproductions

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Increased Maleness at Flowering Stage and Femaleness at Fruiting Stage with Size in an Andromonoecious Perennial, Veratrum nigrum

Wan-Jin Liao, Da-Yong Zhang   

  • Received:2007-09-02 Accepted:2007-11-21

Abstract: Theory predicts that cosexual plants should adjust their resource investment in male and female functions according to their size if female and male fitness are differentially affected by size. However, few empirical studies have been carried out at both the flowering and fruiting stages to adequately address size-dependent sex allocation in cosexual plants. In this paper, we investigated resource investment between female and male reproduction, and their size-dependence in a perennial andromonoecious herb, Veratrum nigrum L. We sampled 192 flowering plants, estimated their standardized phenotypic gender, and assessed the resource investment in male and female functions in terms of absolute dry biomass. At the flowering stage, male investment increased with plant size more rapidly than female investment, and the standardized phenotypic femaleness (ranging from 0.267 to 0.776) was negatively correlated with plant size. By contrast, female biased allocation was found at the fruiting stage, although both flower biomass and fruit biomass were positively correlated with plant size. We propose that increased maleness with plant size at the flowering stage may represent an adaptive strategy for andromonoecious plants, because male flowers promote both male and female fertility by increasing pollinator attraction without aggravating pollen discounting.

Key words: Veratrum nigrum, andromonoecy, phenotypic gender, size-dependent sex allocation

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