SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

The genus Eurya is described as strictly dioecious, but rare leaky plants have been found in some species, causing much confusion about the sex expression of the genus. Through field investigations from 2009 to 2011, morphologically hermaphroditic flowers in Eurya obtusifolia were discovered. In order to understand the sex expression of these plants, their stamens, pistils and ovules were carefully observed. Staining methods were used to assess the functional gender. The flowers of the leaky plants can be classified into six types: pistillate, staminate, cryptic pistillate, cryptic staminate, hermaphrodite and infertile. Leaky plants usually exhibit a combination of different kinds of flowers, making them either gynoecious, androecious, gynomonoecious or monoecious. Some individuals have infertile flowers. Bagging experiments verified the bisexual function of E. obtusifolia plants, some of which possess the ability to self-pollinate. The flower morphology of leaky plants varied more than that of dioecious ones, and the number of ovules were significantly negatively correlated with the number of stamens. These plants show lower fitness than normal dioecious plants. This may owe to allocation tradeoffs or sexual genome conflicts. As leaky dioecy is rarely reported in this genus, E. obtusifolia is an important species to study in order to better understand the ecological adaptations and evolutionary pathways that lead to dioecy in Eurya. Our findings provide some evidence that dioecy of Eurya evolved from hermaphroditism, but further studies are still needed.