Patterns of vegetative growth and reproduction in relation to branch orders: the plant as a spatially structured population

Abstract

The patterns of vegetative growth and reproduction in relation to orders of terminal branches were examined in the evergreen woody plant, Eurya japonica. The branch order number was determined centrifugally. The trunk was given order number 1; branches issuing directly from the trunk were order 2; branches growing on order 2 branches were order 3, and so on. The results of this study show the differential patterns of vegetative growth and reproduction in relation to the branch orders. Lower-order shoots of terminal branches grew more, but produced few flowers. On the other hand, for the higher-order terminal branches, shoot growth was very limited but flowering was more intense. The results show that a tree can be interpreted not as a mere population of equivalent modules but as a spatially structured population. Thus, it is essential to consider the position of modules within the branch system when patterns of vegetative growth and reproduction are examined. It is hypothesized that the difference in the opportunity cost in relation to the branch orders is the main cause of the spatial structure for patterns of vegetative growth and reproduction. Furthermore, for same-order terminal branches, current-year shoot elongation was independent of flowering intensity. These results suggest that this species only invests resources in reproduction that are surplus to its requirements for the functions associated with survival, such as growth and/or storage.

DOI: 10.1007/s004680050226

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Cite this paper

@article{Suzuki2000PatternsOV, title={Patterns of vegetative growth and reproduction in relation to branch orders: the plant as a spatially structured population}, author={Akira John Suzuki}, journal={Trees}, year={2000}, volume={14}, pages={329-333} }