Patterns of fruit and seed production inBauhinia ungulata (Leguminosae)

  • C. J. Webb
  • K. S. Bawa


Patterns of seed and fruit production ofBauhinia ungulata, a small tree legume indigenous in tropical America, were studied in Costa Rica. Only about 8% of flowers produced fruits. The average pod had 19 ovules and about two thirds of these began seed development, with mature pods containing an average of 9.7 mature undamaged seeds. About half of the mature pods were damaged by herbivores and within these, 27% of ovules or seeds had been eaten. Among trees there was no significant variation in pod production, but the number of ovules per pod and seed production per pod varied significantly. Within infructescences most pods were retained at middle positions. Within pods, the probability of an ovule developing into a seed increased toward the distal end. The pattern of seed and fruit production in this species agrees well in general with that reported for other neotropical legumes. The abortion of seeds and fruits can be regarded as a way of controlling maternal investment, and as a response to herbivory.

Key Words

Angiosperms Leguminosae Caesalpinioideae Bauhinia ungulata. — Fruit production seed production position effects herbivory 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Webb
    • 1
  • K. S. Bawa
    • 2
  1. 1.Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial ResearchChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonU.S.A.

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