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Gender Variation and Sexual Differences in Reproductive Characters and Seed Production in Gynodioecious Geranium maculatum

Jon Agren and Mary F. Willson
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 78, No. 4 (Apr., 1991), pp. 470-480
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445256
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Gender Variation and Sexual Differences in Reproductive Characters and Seed Production in Gynodioecious Geranium maculatum
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Abstract

Variation in sex expression, flowering pattern, and seed production was studied in the self-compatible perennial herb Geranium maculatum in Illinois and Indiana. In a survey of eight populations, female (male-sterile) plants were found in seven (frequencies ranging from 0.5% to 24.3% [median 4.2%]), and intermediate plants (with partly reduced male function) were found in all populations. Gender variation and sexual differences in reproductive characters were studied in detail in two populations. One population consisted of 5% female, 27% intermediate, and 68% hermaphrodite plants; the other consisted of 1% female, 20% intermediate, and 79% hermaphrodite plants. Females produced smaller flowers and began flowering earlier than hermaphrodites. Intermediates produced flowers of an intermediate size and began flowering as early as females. Females and hermaphrodites did not differ in flower number, vegetative size, flowering frequency, survival, or seed size. However, females produced 1.6 times more seeds than hermaphrodites. Intermediates produced 1.3-1.6 times more seeds than hermaphrodites. Some between-year variation in sex expression was observed. Hand-pollination with outcross pollen produced two to four times as many seeds as hand-pollination with self-pollen. A lower outcrossing rate in hermaphrodites than in females may at least partly explain the lower seed set in hermaphrodites. The higher seed production of females, and possibly the high fecundity of the intermediates, should contribute to the maintenance of this sexual polymorphism.

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