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Factors Limiting Fruit and Seed Production of a Temperate Shrub, Staphylea trifolia L. (Staphyleaceae)

Nancy C. Garwood and Carol C. Horvitz
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 72, No. 3 (Mar., 1985), pp. 453-466
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443538
Page Count: 14
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Factors Limiting Fruit and Seed Production of a Temperate Shrub, Staphylea trifolia L. (Staphyleaceae)
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Abstract

Staphylea trifolia L., the bladdernut, is a self-incompatible temperate woodland shrub that flowers in May in Illinois. Factors limiting reproduction were studied at four levels: 1) Seeds/fruit. Seed production in open-pollinated fruit was frequently limited by too few fertilized ovules. Seed production in hand-cross-pollinated fruit was limited by resources or dispersal constraints: seed abortion rates were higher in hand-cross-pollinated fruits than in open-pollinated fruits. 2) Fruits/flower and 3) fruits/inflorescence. The number of fruits set and matured per flower and per infloresence in the open-pollinated treatment was limited by the number of flowers naturally cross-pollinated. In hand-cross-pollinated inflorescences, fruit set was not limited by resources even though fruit set was ten times greater than in the open-pollinated treatment. Evidence that resources limited fruit maturation in the hand-cross-pollinated inflorescences was equivocal. In hand-cross-pollinated flowers, fruit set was lowest when cold nights followed pollination, suggesting that cool temperatures limited postpollination physiological processes. 4) Fruits/individual. Early-flowering individuals matured fewer fruits than later-flowering individuals. Within the latter group, fruit production increased with plant size, although a relatively small individual matured the maximum number of fruits. Flowering phenologies and size of individuals varied among patches, resulting in differential reproductive success of patches.

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