Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 195, Issue 3–4, pp 243–259 | Cite as

Fire-survival strategy — a character of taxonomic, ecological and evolutionary importance in fynbos legumes

  • A. L. Schutte
  • J. H. J. Vlok
  • B. -E. Van Wyk


Variation in the fire-survival strategy of the fynbos, legume tribesPodalyrieae andLiparieae was studied, since it is often the only conspicuous difference between morphologically similar taxa. Two main strategies are apparent: sprouters, taxa which are able to sprout from a woody rootstock after fire and non-sprouters, those which only recruit from seed after fire. In fynbos legumes sprouting and non-sprouting taxa differ in their habitat specificity, population densities, relative regional abundance, and in seed germination tempo. Speciation patterns, as inferred from an analysis of the geographical distribution and habitat specificity of the species, are discussed. Problems relating to the use of sprouting versus non-sprouting as a taxonomic character in fynbos legumes are addressed and possible solutions are given.

Key words

Fabaceae Liparieae Podalyrieae Cape fynbos fire ecology growth form speciation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. L. Schutte
    • 1
  • J. H. J. Vlok
    • 2
  • B. -E. Van Wyk
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyRand Afrikaans UniversityJohannesburgRepublic of South Africa
  2. 2.Cape Nature ConservationSouthern Cape DivisionDe RustRepublic of South Africa

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