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Sex Differences and Flowering Phenology in the Common Fig, Ficus carica L.

Georges Valdeyron and David G. Lloyd
Evolution
Vol. 33, No. 2 (Jun., 1979), pp. 673-685
DOI: 10.2307/2407790
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407790
Page Count: 13
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Sex Differences and Flowering Phenology in the Common Fig, Ficus carica L.
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Abstract

General features of the symbiotic relationship between Ficus species and agaonid wasps are briefly reviewed. The sexual differences between F. carica trees with long-styled pistillate flowers (females) and those with short-styled pistillate flowers (males or caprifigs) are outlined. There are conspicuous secondary differences between wild male and female plants in the phenology of syconium development caused by the length of delay between the initiation and subsequent enlargment of syconia. Selective forces which may have molded the differences between F carica males and females in sexual performance and phenology are postulated in terms of their roles as pollen and ovule parents and as hosts to the wasps. Male trees produce three crops annually; the profichi crop is almost entirely responsible for the pollen success of caprifigs, while the mamme (and mammoni, when present) crops are specialized for wasp maintenance. Female figs produce two crops annually: in wild populations, the brebas crop falls before it can be pollinated and the reproductive fitness of wild females is derived solely from the seeds produced by the main crop. The long-styled pistillate flowers of female syconia do not permit wasp eggs to be laid, so the pollination of female syconia depends on mimicry of caprifig syconia. Ficus carica has a gynodioecious mating pattern, despite its origin from a monoecious ancestor. All pertinent properties of F. carica can be explained by the natural selection of individuals.

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