Knowledge of ecological characteristics of rare species is important in assessing their threat status. Trillium reliquum is one of four globally vulnerable North American Trillium species. Yet little is known about the ecology and reproductive biology of T. reliquum. Here we present the first description of the natural history and reproductive biology of T. reliquum. We observed the timing of emergence, flowering, fruit maturation, and seed dehiscence of a population in south-central Georgia (USA). In addition, we conducted a series of pollen manipulation experiments to assess the breeding system and pollen limitation. We found the life history of this species to be similar to other Trillium species; individuals progressed through four morphologically distinct life stages with increases in size and age. However, T. reliquum exhibited an earlier and shorter germination period than other Trillium species and many plants exist in a dormant state during the growing season. This species matured fruit equally well with either cross- or self-pollen and by apomixis. Seeds produced per fruit did not differ among reproductive treatments. The lack of differences in fruit and seed production among pollination treatments suggested there was no pollen limitation in 2004 for this population. The data we report here provide a baseline that can be used to generate assessments of the population stability of T. reliquum.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Barrett SCH, Helenurm K (1987) The reproductive biology of boreal forest herbs. I. Breeding systems and pollination. Can J Bot 65:2036–2046
Beattie AJ, Culver DC (1981) The guild of myrmecochores in the herbaceous flora of West Virginia forests. Ecology 62:107–115
Bierzychudek P (1987) Patterns in plant parthenogenesis. In: Stearns SC (ed) The evolution of sex and its consequences. Birkhauser Verlag, Boston, pp 197–218
Case FW Jr, Case RB (1997) Trilliums. Timber Press, Inc., Portland
Davis MA (1981) The effect of pollinators, predators, and energy constraints on the floral ecology and evolution of Trillium erectum. Oecologia 48:400–406
Farmer SB, Schilling EE (2002) Phylogenetic analyses of Trilliaceae based on morphological and molecular data. Syst Biol 27:674–692
Freeman JD (1975) Revision of the Trillium subgenus Pyllantherum (Liliaceae). Brittonia 27:1–62
Griffin SR, Barrett SCH (2002) Factors affecting low seed:ovule ratios in a spring woodland herb, Trillium grandiflorum (Melanthiaceae). Int J Plant Sci 163:581–590
Hanzawa FM, Kalisz S (1993) The relationship between age, size, and reproduction in Trillium grandiflorum (Liliaceae). Am J Bot 80:405–410
Irwin RE (2000) Morphological variation and female reproductive success in two sympatric Trillium species: evidence for phenotypic selection in Trillium erectum and Trillium grandiflorum (Liliaceae). Am J Bot 87:205–214
Jeffrey EC, Haertl EJ (1939a) Apomixis in Trillium. Cellule 48:79–88
Jeffrey EC, Haertl EJ (1939b) The production of unfertilized seeds in Trillium. Science 90:81–82
Jules ES (1998) Habitat fragmentation and demographic change for a common plant: Trillium in old-growth forest. Ecology 79:1645–1656
Kalisz S, Hanzawa FM, Tonsor SJ, Theide DA, Voigt S (1999) Ant-mediated seed dispersal alters pattern of relatedness in a population of Trillium grandiflorum. Ecology 80:2620–2634
Kawano S, Ohara M, Utech FH (1986) Life history studies on the genus Trillium (Liliaceae) II. Reproductive biology and survivorship of four eastern North American species. Plant Species Biol 1:47–58
Knight TM (2003) Effects of herbivory and its timing across populations of Trillium grandiflorum (Liliaceae). Am J Bot 90:1207–1214
Knight TM (2004) The effects of herbivory and pollen limitation on a declining population of Trillium grandiflorum. Ecol Appl 14:915–928
Lande R, Schemske DW (1985) The evolution of self-fertilization and inbreeding depression in plants. I. Genetic models. Evolution 39:24–40
Lloyd DG (1992) Self- and cross-fertilization in plants. II. The selection of self-fertilization. Int J Plant Sci 153:370–380
Nesom GL, Duke JCL (1985) Biology of Trillium nivale (Lilliaceae). Can J Bot 63:7–14
Ohara M, Utech FH (1989) Life history evolution in the genus Trillium. Plant Species Biol 4:1–28
Patrick TS (1973) Observations on the life history of Trillium grandiflorum (Michaux) Salisbury. Master of Science thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Patrick TS, Allison JR, Krakow GA (1995) Protected plants of Georgia. Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Social Circle, GA
Sage TL, Griffin SR, Pontieri V, Drobac P, Cole WW, Barrett SCH (2001) Stigmatic self-incompatibility and mating patterns in Trillium grandiflorum and Trillium erectum (Melanthiaceae). Ann Bot (Lond) 88:829–841
Schemske DW, Willson MF, Melanpy MN, Miller LJ, Verner L, Schemske KM, Best LB (1978) Flowering ecology of some spring woodland herbs. Ecology 59:351–366
Swamy BGL (1948) On the post-fertilization development of Trillium undulatum. Cellule 52:7–14
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1988) Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; determination of endangered status for the relict Trillium. Fed Regist 53:10879–10884
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1990) Relict Trillium recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, GA
vanDijk PJ (2003) Ecological and evolutionary opportunities of apomixis: insights from Taraxacum and Chondrilla. Philos T Roy Soc B 358:1113–1121
Walter KS, Gillett HJ (1998) 1997 IUCN red list of threatened plants. In: Walter KS, Gillett HJ (eds) Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK, pp Ixiv + 862
Warner D, Norton V (2003) An overview of water-resource issues in the middle and lower Flint River subbasins, southwest Georgia. In: Hatcher KJ (ed) 2003 Georgia water resources conference. The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, April 23–24, 2003, 900 pp
Wolfe LM, Barrett SCH (1988) Temporal changes in the pollinator fauna of tristylous Pontederia cordata, an aquatic plant. Can J Zool 66:1421–1424
Wyatt R, Broyles SB, Derda GS (1992) Environmental influences on nectar production in milkweeds (Asclepias syriaca and A. exaltata). Am J Bot 79:636–642
We thank two anonymous reviewers for improvements to an earlier version of this manuscript. We thank Alan Harvey, Lorne Wolfe, Tom Patrick, and Eric VandeGenachte for helpful comments concerning this research. Pam Heckel provided field assistance. Funding was provided by Catherine H. Beattie Fellowship (Garden Club of America), Sigma Xi grant-in-aid of research, Marie Mellinger Field Botany Research Grant (GA Botanical Society), Georgia Southern University, and in-kind support from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Permission to work with the species was granted by the GA DNR (Permit #04002).
About this article
Cite this article
Heckel, C.D., Leege, L.M. Life History and Reproductive Biology of the Endangered Trillium reliquum . Plant Ecol 189, 49–57 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-006-9165-9
- Mating system
- Seed production