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The Effect of Plant Size on Vegetative Reproduction in a Pseudo-Annual

René W. Verburg, René Kwant and Marinus J. A. Werger
Vegetatio
Vol. 125, No. 2 (Aug., 1996), pp. 185-192
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20048720
Page Count: 8
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The Effect of Plant Size on Vegetative Reproduction in a Pseudo-Annual
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Abstract

The relationship between plant size and vegetative reproduction in clonal plants appears complex because vegetative expansion, growth, and reproduction are not clearly separable in such plants. In 'pseudo-annuals', which are clonal plants surviving the winter only as seeds and hibernacles produced by the rhizome apices, vegetative growth and reproduction are clearly separate processes so that the relationship between vegetative reproduction and plant size can be studied. We used the pseudo-annual Helianthus × laetiflorus Pers. to study the relationship between plant size and total rhizome biomass, rhizome (hibernacle) biomass, and number of hibernacles. We manipulated resource acquisition of the plants by reducing leaf area (leaf-clipping) and by fertilization, thus affecting plant size. Furthermore, we studied the success of thin and thick hibernacles in terms of future growth and reproduction in a separate experiment. The results showed that vegetative reproduction was positively related to plant size. The ratio between the number of hibernacles and mean hibernacle weight was affected by plant size in such a way that in small plants both number of hibernacles and mean hibernacle weight were reduced to the same extent as compared to those in large plants. However, the size distributions of plants of the next generation growing from thin and thick hibernacles did not differ. It remains unclear therefore why this pseudo-annual species produces thick hibernacles at all.

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