Plant Ecology

, Volume 219, Issue 8, pp 985–997 | Cite as

Floral-induced and constitutive defense against florivory: a comparison of chemical traits in 12 herb species

  • Kae Wakabayashi
  • Michio Oguro
  • Tomoyuki Itagaki
  • Satoki SakaiEmail author


Little is known about how plants protect flowers—their reproductive organs—against florivory. Additionally, the induced floral defense system has been examined in only a few species. We tested the inducibility of putative floral defenses and investigated the relationship between natural florivory and the floral defenses of 12 naturally growing plant species. The relationships between florivory and four chemical traits (nitrogen, phosphorus, total phenolics, and condensed tannins) were investigated in 12 plant species. We also studied whether flowers induce changes in chemical defenses in response to artificial damage in 10 plant species. A higher concentration of floral nitrogen was associated with a decreasing frequency of florivore attacks. Among the four traits of the 10 plant species studied, no trait changed in response to the artificial damage. We suggest that induced defense systems may not be advantageous for flowers, although it is also possible that these species simply do not use induced defense in any of their plant parts.


Floral defense Floral herbivory Total phenolics Condensed tannins Nitrogen Phosphorus 



The authors thank C. Oka, J. Mochizuki, and K. Hoshi for their help during the fieldwork, as well as S. Takayanagi, R. Oguchi, H. Kurokawa, K. Hashimoto, M. Kawabe, and M. Inoue for their advice regarding the chemical analyses. The authors also thank our colleagues, particularly T. Nakashizuka, K. Hikosaka, M. Maki, and M. Aiba, for their valuable suggestions throughout the study.

Supplementary material

11258_2018_851_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)
11258_2018_851_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 13 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

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