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Effects of cone color dimorphism on reproductive output of white fir abies concolor growing along elevational gradients



Effects of cone color dimorphism on reproductive output of white fir abies concolor growing along elevational gradients



American Journal of Botany 72(11): 1719-1725



White fir can produce cones that are either green or purple, and the color is genetically determined. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of elevation and cone color on the cone and seed characters of this species. We collected cones from trees along two elevational gradients, Red Mountain Pass (1981 and 1983) and Cucharas Pass (1983). Over 600 cones were measured for length, diameter, number of viable seeds, mass of five viable seeds, and percent successful seed set. There was a strong overall effect due to elevation, although the Cucharas and Red Mtn. locations showed somewhat different effects on the reproductive characters. Seed mass decreased with elevation in all three samples. There was significant interaction between cone color and elevation for both 1983 samples, suggesting the presence of genotype-environment interaction. A large difference was seen between the Red Mtn. and Cucharas locations, and the cone colors behaved differently at the two locations. The consistently large differences between the seed characters of green and purple cones suggested that cone color, which is presumably determined by a single gene, may profoundly affect the reproductive potential of individual trees. This appears to be an example of influential coloration in plants which is not associated with pollination or dispersal.

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Accession: 005296863

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