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Experimental ecological genetics in plantago 5. components of seed yield in the ribwort plantain plantago lanceolata



Experimental ecological genetics in plantago 5. components of seed yield in the ribwort plantain plantago lanceolata



Evolution 35(6): 1069-1079



In P. lanceolata, 4 yield components (inflorescence number per plant, capsule number per inflorescence, seed number per capsule and weight per seed) multiplicatively determine seed yield. Significant differences were evident in plants grown under controlled conditions for all characters except seed number per capsule, indicating a genetic basis to population differences observed in the field. Inflorescence number per plant and capsule number per inflorescence showed significant genetic variation within populations. Comparison of population means under 2 growth conditions showed that the order of increasing phenotypic plasticity was weight per seed, seed number per capsule, inflorescence number per plant and capsule number per inflorescence. Correlations among yield components within populations were frequently negative, more so among components that were closely related developmentally. Correlations of the components with yield itself were predominantly positive and high. This pattern parallels the pattern that has been observed frequently in crop plants and indicates the importance of character correlation in limiting seed yield in natural as well as agricultural populations. Understanding the interactions of successively varying characters which determine fitness may be fundamental to understanding evolutionary rates and directions.

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