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Vegetative and Reproductive Phenologies of a Palm Assemblage in Panama

Diane De Steven, Donald M. Windsor, Francis E. Putz and Bonifacio de Leon
Biotropica
Vol. 19, No. 4 (Dec., 1987), pp. 342-356
DOI: 10.2307/2388632
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388632
Page Count: 15
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Vegetative and Reproductive Phenologies of a Palm Assemblage in Panama
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Abstract

During a 4-yr phenological study of the palm flora of Barro Colorado Island, Panama, palm species displayed substantial variation in reproductive phenology despite a shared uniform growth architecture. Reproduction in the majority of species was distinctly seasonal: most, but not all, initiated flowering sometime during the rainy season. In two species, individuals exhibited multiple flowering episodes. Palm species differed in the degree of within-year flowering synchrony but were relatively predictable in flowering time from year to year. Especially within asynchronously flowering species, fruiting was more synchronous than flowering, in part as a result of the failure of individuals flowering at certain times to produce mature fruit. Levels of flowering within each species were generally high except in the clonal Bactris palms, and it appeared for some species that canopy openness may stimulate flowering. Palm vegetative phenology was also seasonal and appeared more responsive to annual climatic variation than did reproductive phenology. In many species, rates of leaf expansion slowed during the dry season, an effect that was exaggerated during the prolonged El Nino dry season of 1982-1983; however, a species' total annual leaf production was relatively constant from year to year. Leaf production correlated with individual height in some species, but was generally not related to the degree of canopy openness. The underlying significance of the variation in reproductive phenology within this palm flora remains largely unexplored.

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