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Seasonal Timing of Pseudoviviparous Reproduction of Leiothrix (Eriocaulaceae) Rupestrian Species in South-eastern Brazil

FLÁVIA F. COELHO, CHRISTINA CAPELO, ANA CAROLINA O. NEVES, ROGÉRIO P. MARTINS and JOSÉ EUGÊNIO C. FIGUEIRA
Annals of Botany
Vol. 98, No. 6 (December 2006), pp. 1189-1195
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42801256
Page Count: 7
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Seasonal Timing of Pseudoviviparous Reproduction of Leiothrix (Eriocaulaceae) Rupestrian Species in South-eastern Brazil
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Abstract

• Background and Aims Pseudovivipary is an asexual reproductive strategy. Leiothrix spiralis and L. vivipara (Eriocaulaceae) are pseudoviviparous and occur in rupestrian grasslands, a habitat that has a predominance of sandy and shallow soil, with low water retention. This study aims to investigate the seasonal variation effect of moisture availability on L. spiralis and L. vivipara pseudoviviparous reproduction, and to compare their life history attributes, on rupestrian grasslands in Southeastern Brazil. • Methods A field study was conducted, including observations concerning pseudoviviparous reproduction and measurement of demographic variables in both L. spiralis and L. vivipara. Soil moisture measurements were also performed to study its effect on the pseudoviviparous reproduction of L. spiralis and L. vivipara. • Key Results Rower head and plantlet production in L. spiralis were highly correlated with soil moisture. All scapes split off in the drier period, indicating that this is a splitter ramet species. Plantlet mortality was positively correlated with scapes splitting off. The L. vivipara phenophases were not synchronized to the variation in soil moisture, since flower heads and plantlets were produced throughout the year. Moreover, the splitting off of scapes was not observed. In addition, plantlets were formed early, as soon as the flower heads appeared, and remained suspended. Therefore, this species was called 'canopy forming'. • Conclusions Seasonal timing of pseudoviviparous reproduction can be a vital component of the successful establishment of plantlets in L. spiralis, considering that in this species the plantlets are formed only after the flower head touches the ground. In contrast, in L. vivipara, the plantlets are formed early, without touching the ground. Moreover, L. spiralis is a splitter ramet species, while L. vivipara is a canopy-forming species. The pseudoviviparous canopy-forming strategy appears to be more advantageous than the splitter ramet strategy, because even under similar soil moisture conditions, the survival of L. vivipara plantlets was greater than that of L. spiralis.

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