Oecologia

ISSN: 0029-8549 (printed version)
ISSN: 1432-1939 (electronic version)

Abstract Volume 109 Issue 2 (1997) pp 279-285

Effects of floral herbivory, limited pollination, and intrinsic plant characteristics on phenotypic gender in Sanicula arctopoides

G. J. Lowenberg

Botany Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Received: 20 February 1996/Accepted: 30 July 1996

Abstract Sexual expression in hermaphroditic plants is often a function of environmental factors affecting individuals before or during flowering. I tested for the effects of floral herbivory and lack of pollination in early umbels on the relative proportions of hermaphroditic and staminate (male) flowers produced on later umbels by Sanicula arctopoides, a monocarpic, andromonoecious perennial. Neither floral herbivory or lack of early pollination had a significant effect on the ratio of the two floral morphs, but the probability of producing staminate flowers on late umbels was strongly and positively related to plant size measured just prior to floral initiation and prior to herbivory. Plant size was also negatively correlated with flowering date. I suggest that producing staminate flowers on late umbels should benefit large early-blooming plants more than small late-blooming plants because more mating opportunities occur during the period when these flowers release pollen. Although herbivory did not cause labile changes of sex, whole plant phenotypic gender was still strongly affected by various forms of treatment. Sex-biased herbivory or lack of pollination rendered plants more or less phenotypically male, depending on which tissues were affected. Deer and pollen-feeding mites preferentially remove male tissues while hymenopteran seed predators preferentially remove female tissues. I conclude that combinations of herbivores could have counteracting or compounding effects on plant gender, and these effects may change the rankings of male and female reproductive success within populations.

Key words Andromonoecious · Functional and phenotypic gender · Floral herbivory · Pollen limitation · Sanicula arctopoides

(1) Present address: Department of Biology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA


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