Tree size and its relationship with flowering phenology and reproductive output in Wild Nutmeg trees
Article first published online: 29 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 10, pages 3536–3544, September 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(10): 3536–3544
- Issue published online: 19 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 29 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 19 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 12 APR 2013
- São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
- Thematic Project Functional Gradient. Grant Number: 03/12595-7
- Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)
- Consejo Nacional para Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (CONICIT)
- floral display;
- reproductive phenology;
- reproductive strategy;
- resource allocation;
- sex ratio.
Reproductive strategies, sexual selection, and their relationship with the phenotype of individuals are topics widely studied in animals, but this information is less abundant for plants. Variability in flowering phenology among individuals has direct impact on their fitness, but how reproductive phenology is affected by the size of the individuals needs further study. We quantified the flowering intensity, length, and reproductive synchronization of two sympatric dioecious Wild Nutmeg tree species (Virola, Myristicaceae) in the Brazilian Atlantic forest, and analyzed its relationships with tree size. Two distinct strategies in flowering timing and intensity were found between species (annual versus biennial flowering), and among individuals in the annual flowering species (extended versus peak flowering). Only for the annual flowering species the reproductive output is related to tree size and large trees present proportionally higher flower coverage, and lower synchronization than smaller ones. Flowering is massive and highly synchronized in the biennial species. Sex ratios are not different from 1:1 in the two species, and in the two segregated reproductive subgroups in the biennial flowering species. The biennial flowering at individual level is a novelty among reproductive patterns in plants, separating the population in two reproductive subgroups. A proportional increase in the reproductive output with size exists only for the annual flowering species. A biennial flowering can allow resource storage favouring massive flowering for all the individuals diluting their relationship with size.