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Evolution of Floral Display in the Orchid Brassavola nodosa

Douglas W. Schemske
Evolution
Vol. 34, No. 3 (May, 1980), pp. 489-493
DOI: 10.2307/2408218
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2408218
Page Count: 5
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Evolution of Floral Display in the Orchid Brassavola nodosa
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Abstract

Reproductive success, indexed by pollinaria removal and fruit production, increases dramatically with flowers per inflorescence in the pollinator-limited orchid, Brassavola nodosa. Many-flowered inflorescences are very rare in nature, despite their apparent selective advantage. I suggest low survivorship as the counter-selective force responsible for the dominance of one-flowered inflorescences (54% of population) which have the highest probability of total reproductive failure (78%) and fruiting failure (92%). That plants do not delay flower production until a more successful floral display can be produced illustrates the importance of tradeoffs in the evolution of life-history characteristics.

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