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Reproductive biology of asclepias exaltata

Reproductive biology of asclepias exaltata

American Journal of Botany 73(1): 11-20

An analysis of the relationships between plant size and survivorship and reproductive success was carried out by sampling four populations of the herbaceous perennial milkweed Asclepias exaltata in Virginia [USA] from 1980 to 1982. The annual survivorship rate (about 65%) is the lowest measured for any species of Asclepias. Survivorship was strongly size-dependent but showed no clear relationship with previous history of fruit production. Non-flowering plants were significantly smaller than flowering plants and showed very strong (r > 0.87) correlations between root dry weight and stem or leaf dry weight. Flowering plants were similar to non-flowering plants in root:shoot ratio (approximately 1:1) but differed in that root dry weight was not strongly correlated with stem or leaf dry weight. Components of inflorescence size were strongly correlated within a given level of comparison (e.g., stems per plant with flowers per plant) but less strongly correlated between levels (e.g., stems per plant with flowers per stem). Number of fruits per plant and percentage fruit-set were positively correlated with every component of inflorescence size. Although overall fruit-set was low (about 2%), fruits that were initiated had a high probability of surviving to maturity. There was no evidence of an early period of high fruit abortion: a relatively constant proportion of fruits aborted between each age class.

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Accession: 006316391

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DOI: 10.2307/2444272

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