Long-term variation in seed mass and seed production in populations of Paris quadrifolia


I. Kosiński, Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Gdańsk, Al. Gen. J. Hallera 107, 80-416 Gdansk, Poland.
E-mail: gorkos@amg.gda.pl
T. Elzenga


Seed production of the perennial herb Paris quadrifolia L. (Liliaceae) was investigated in five populations in northern Poland. The long-term seed production per square metre differed significantly among populations and years. Moreover, throughout the 7-year study period, 30% of both whole ripe fruits and seeds alone were predated. Variation in seed mass per fruit in both space and time was significant. Throughout the 7-year study, nearly all the marked individuals produced fruits once every 2 years. The most frequent break between fruiting was 2 years and the longest was 5 years. Only the mean seed mass in fruits of the same individual varied significantly over subsequent years. In the five populations, the number of ovules, number of seeds in the fruit and seed mass varied significantly between populations. However seed/ovule ratio did not differ in fruits in the five populations. The seed mass/number trade-off in fruits was strongly partially correlated when the effect of total seed mass was considered. Breeding experiments suggest that P. quadrifolia has a substantial capacity for both inbreeding and outbreeding. There were no significant differences in the seed/ovule ratio, seed number or seed mass in fruits produced from bagged or control flowers. However, both seed/ovule ratio and number of seeds were significantly lower in fruits from emasculated flowers.