Carbon source for reproduction in a spring ephemeral herb, Corydalis ambigua (Papaveraceae)
Article first published online: 2 JUL 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 British Ecological Society
Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 62–69, February 2010
How to Cite
Kudo, G. and Ida, T. Y. (2010), Carbon source for reproduction in a spring ephemeral herb, Corydalis ambigua (Papaveraceae). Functional Ecology, 24: 62–69. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01601.x
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 2 JUL 2009
- Received 12 February 2009; accepted 23 May 2009 Handling Editor: Jennifer Baltzer
- carbon translocation;
- nectar production;
- reproductive cost;
- seed production;
- spring ephemeral
1. The carbon source for reproduction in plants may differ between flowering and fruiting stages. To clarify how spring ephemerals use current photosynthetic products for reproduction, the allocation patterns of photosynthate at flowering and fruiting and the effects of resource limitation on reproductive performance in Corydalis ambigua were assessed.
2. A 13C tracing experiment revealed that about 20% of the current photosynthetic carbon was used for reproduction at both flowering and fruiting. The proportion of 13C allocated to fruits was constant irrespective of the light level. In contrast, 13C translocation to tubers increased at fruiting, and this trend was accelerated when plants were shaded.
3. Defoliation treatment significantly reduced nectar production and tuber mass, while seed production was not affected. Therefore, when carbon assimilation was limited, carbon was preferentially allocated to current reproduction (seeds) rather than to pollinator attraction (nectar) or storage (tuber).
4. If seed production is partly supported by carbohydrate reserved in the old tissue of tubers, nectar and seed production may not compete strongly for carbon sources. In contrast to the ability of high seed production, the susceptibility of nectar production to current photosynthesis indicates that seed production of this species is basically limited by pollen capture.
5. Therefore, temporal separation of resource pool for reproduction may mitigate the joint limitation of seed production between pollinator attraction and resource availability. Temporal variation of the sink–source balance of storage organ is crucial to understand the cost of reproduction in perennial plants.