Differences in life history traits of related Epilobium species : clonality, seed size and seed number

Stöcklin, Jürg. (1997) Differences in life history traits of related Epilobium species : clonality, seed size and seed number. In: Folia Geobotanica, 34. Uppsala, pp. 7-18.

PDF - Published Version

Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5251939

Downloads: Statistics Overview


Small changes in morphology can affect the performance and functions of organisms and hence their ecological success. In modular constructed plants, contrasting growth strategies may be realized by differences in the spatial arrangement and size of shoots. Such differences change the way in which meristems and resources are assigned to various functions during the lifespan of a plant. If such changes include the capacity to spread clonally, sexual reproduction may also be affected. I compare patterns in vegetative growth and sexual reproductive traits in four allopatric species of Epilobium which are sometimes considered as subspecies of a single polymorphic taxon. The four species differ in the location of the buds which annually renew the aerial shoot system. E. dodonaei and E. steveni do not spread clonally and are characterized by a shrub-like habit. E. fleischeri, a species occurring only in the Alps, and E. colchicum, which occurs in the upper region of the Caucasus mountains, both produce buds on horizontal roots or plagiotropic shoots. Both alpine species exhibiting clonal growth have smaller shoots, fewer fruits and smaller seeds than the lowland species. An intraspecific trade-off between seed number per fruit and seed mass is realized. Both alpine species produce mon seeds per fruit at the expense of seed mass. The morphological relationship between the four species and their geographical distribution suggest that clonal growth in E. fleischeri (restricted to the Alps) and E. colchicum (restricted to the Caucasus) is adaptively associated with the stressful conditions of alpine habitats. Our results suggest that clonal growth is not necessarily correlated with reduced reproduction by seeds. The success of plants which are already established may largely depend on clonal spread, but the colonization of new habitats depends on the production of a large number of small seeds with high dispersability.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Stöcklin, Jürg
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Conference or workshop item Subtype:Conference Paper
Publisher:Opulus Press
Note:Note: Ecology of Closely Related Plant Species. Proceedings of the 40th Symposium of the International Association of Vegetation Science -- Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Conference paper
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:13 Nov 2017 16:03
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:43

Repository Staff Only: item control page