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Double- and Single-Seeded Indehiscent Legumes of Platypodium elegans: Consequences for Wind Dispersal and Seedling Growth and Survival

Carol K. Augspurger
Biotropica
Vol. 18, No. 1 (Mar., 1986), pp. 45-50
DOI: 10.2307/2388361
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388361
Page Count: 6
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Double- and Single-Seeded Indehiscent Legumes of Platypodium elegans: Consequences for Wind Dispersal and Seedling Growth and Survival
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Abstract

The tropical tree, Platypodium elegans (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae), matures indehiscent wind-dispersed fruits containing one or, much less commonly, two seeds. Relative to single-seeded fruits, double-seeded fruits have greater wet mass, area, wing-loading, and rate of descent in still air, and consequently are dispersed shorter distances under field conditions. The proximal seed of double-seeded fruits has a smaller dry mass and usually has lower and slower germination than the distal seed. Its radicle has difficulty emerging from the legume and establishing a root system, and the seedling has lower survival and slower growth. Twin seedlings arising from one fruit grow more slowly than single seedlings from double- or single-seeded fruits, and both twins rarely survive to one year under growing house conditions. In fruit samples of equal size, more total seedlings emerge from double- than single-seeded fruits; however, due to their lower probability of survival, double-seeded fruits have no more seedlings at one year under growing house conditions than do single-seeded fruits. Seed predation was not measured in this study. Unless multiseeded fruits more easily escape seed predation, there is no apparent evolutionary advantage to a parent of P. elegans producing multiseeded fruits. Their presence in low numbers appears to result from incomplete elimination or suppression of development of the multiple ovules after pollination.

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