, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 285-290
Date: 09 Nov 2013

From the sprouting to the senescence: an analysis of developmental chronology in the alpine herb Inula royleana (Asteraceae)

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Phenological background information for alpine species is limited due to their occurrence in extremely high altitudes. In this study, done over a 2-year period, we investigated the chronological development of Inula royleana with respect to sprouting, bud burst, first flowering, peak flowering, flowering period, first fruiting, and peak fruiting at the individual and population level. The species extends the growth cycle over two growing seasons; 1 year of development occurs belowground in the apical bud, while differentiation of preformed buds occurs above the soil surface in the 2nd year. Timings of the first and peak flowering differed between individuals with nearly 60 % of plants producing inflorescence 18–25 days after the mean bud burst date indicating normal phenological distribution. The species showed a peak in flowering in early- to late-August, with each flower having mean flower longevity of 12.6 days. Early and late flowering plants show a much lower flowering intensity and do not benefit from mid-season higher synchrony. The overall flowering synchrony (Z) peaked at 0.42 and was rather constant between years. These results suggest that differences in floral stage timing may in part involve varying genotypic environmental response characteristics and that these differences may have potential fitness effects. The minimum total period to produce at least some mature seeds is 60–70 days.