, Volume 199, Issue 2, pp 255-264
Date: 24 May 2008

Sex expression, female frequency, and reproductive output in a gynodioecious clonal herb, Glechoma longituba (Lamiaceae)

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Abstract

We investigated the sex morphs and frequency of females in 24 natural populations of the clonal, gynodioecious species Glechoma longituba. In addition to the presence of hermaphrodites and females, there were some individuals with intermediate sex expression that could not be categorized as either morph. The majority of populations contained a predominance of hermaphrodites, although female frequency varied from 0 to 100%. The sexual expression of individual ramets did not change over three consecutive years or when ramets were transplanted to different populations, but it did change over the course of a flowering season. Seeds from females weighed more than those from hermaphrodites. The seed set of hermaphrodites was relatively constant across populations; the seed set of females was higher than that of hermaphrodites in most populations, but lower in populations in which females occurred at a very high frequency because of pollen limitation. This led to a negative correlation being detected between the seed set of females and the frequency of females in a population. We postulated that the adjustment of sex expression within seasons could be an adaptive mechanism of reproductive assurance in this system.