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Keywords:

  • Apomixis;
  • phenotypic plasticity;
  • sexual reproduction;
  • Taraxacum officinale;
  • environmental variation

Abstract: The mode of reproduction, sexual or asexual, will influence the way populations respond to selective pressures. This can cause genetic and ecological divergence between sexual and asexual forms of the same species. Here we examine differences in morphology and phenology between sexual and apomictic types of dandelion, Taraxacum officinale. Sexual and apomictic dandelions were collected from a mixed population on the banks of the river Rhine, The Netherlands. Clonal copies of both sexual and apomictic genotypes were planted in an experimental garden under two light levels. Sexual plants flowered four days later on average than apomicts, but the number of capitula was the same. Apomicts had longer leaves and were heavier than sexual plants, especially under shaded conditions. In apomicts plasticity for leaf length and height was larger than in sexuals, but for most other measured traits no differences in plasticity were observed. Trait values of apomicts were within the same range as those of sexual plants.