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Reproductive ecology of Thymelaea velutina (Thymelaeaceae)- Factors contributing to the maintenance of heterocarpy

AuthorsBandera, Mari Carmen de la; Traveset, Anna
Seedling survival
Seed predation
Seed dispersal
Balearic Islands
Thymelaea velutina
Issue DateNov-2005
CitationPlant Systematics and Evolution 256(1-4): 97-112 (2005)
AbstractThymelaea velutina (Thymelaeaceae) is a dioecious shrub that presents a unique type of heterocarpy which consists of the simultaneous production of dry and fleshy fruits. It is endemic to the Balearic Islands (Western Mediterranean) and is found both in dunes and mountain areas. The goal of this study was to identify which factors influence the production of both fruit types, examining the variation of their effects at a spatio-temporal scale (comparing two localities in different years). Specifically, we investigated (1) whether pollen limitation influences the type of fruit produced, and (2) the possible differences in seed size, mass, dispersal capacity, seed predation, germination patterns and seedling survival between fruit types. We also examined if the production of fleshy fruits was modified with the application of gibberellins to reproductive branches. Although fleshy fruits were consistently more abundant than dry ones at both populations, their proportion was significantly higher at the site with greater precipitation. The addition of either pollen or gibberellins did not affect the proportion of each fruit type. Seeds in fleshy fruits are consistently larger, heavier and more likely to be dispersed than seeds in dry fruits, but germinability, germination rate and seedling survival was similar among fruit types. Heterocarpy in this species is currently maintained as there is no apparent factor that exerts any strong selective pressure on either fruit type. The two fruit types might even have different 'functions', one serving especially for dispersal and population expansion and the other for producing a seed bank that ensures an eventual germination. © Springer-Verlag 2005.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00606-005-0355-z
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00606-005-0355-z
issn: 0378-2697
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Artículos
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