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Phylogenetically Independent Associations between Autonomous Self‐Fertilization and Plant Invasiveness

Mark van Kleunen, John C. Manning, Vanessa Pasqualetto and Steven D. Johnson
The American Naturalist
Vol. 171, No. 2 (February 2008), pp. 195-201
DOI: 10.1086/525057
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/525057
Page Count: 7
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Phylogenetically Independent Associations between Autonomous Self‐Fertilization and Plant Invasiveness
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Abstract

Abstract: Many plant species have been introduced from their native ranges to new continents, but few have become naturalized or, ultimately, invasive. It has been predicted that species that do not require the presence of compatible mates and the services of pollinators for reproduction will be favored in establishment after long‐distance dispersal. We tested whether this hypothesis, generally referred to as Baker’s law, holds for South African species of Iridaceae (iris family) that have been introduced in other regions for horticultural purposes. Fruit and seed production of flowers from which pollinators had been experimentally excluded was assessed for 10 pairs of species from nine different genera or subgenera. Each species pair comprised one naturalized and one nonnaturalized species, all of which are used in international horticulture. On average, species of Iridaceae that have become naturalized outside their native ranges showed a higher capacity for autonomous fruit and seed production than congeneric species that have not become naturalized. This was especially true for the naturalized species that are considered to be invasive weeds. These results provide strong evidence for the role of autonomous seed production in increasing potential invasiveness in plants.

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