Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 304, Issue 4, pp 473–484 | Cite as

Sexual dimorphism in a gynodioecious species, Aruncus aethusifolius (Rosaceae)

  • Min-Kyeong Oak
  • Jun-Ho Song
  • Suk-Pyo Hong
Original Article


The sexual system of Aruncus aethusifolius (Amygdaloideae, Rosaceae), which is endemic to Korean, remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the sexual system of A. aethusifolius based on a detailed morphological, micromorphological, and anatomical study. The natural population of this endemic species is restricted to Hallasan Mountain on Jeju Island. We found two types of plants in the natural population: hermaphrodite and female plants. Each sexual morph exhibited different floral traits, showing a modest form of sexual dimorphism. Significant quantitative differences were detected in the investigated organs (i.e., petal, sepal, ovary, stamen, nectary, and follicle). For example, hermaphroditic floral organs (i.e., petal, sepal, stamen and nectary) were larger than those of the female flowers (P < 0.001), but the ovary and follicle were relatively larger in female flowers than in hermaphrodites (P < 0.001). The fruit-setting rate (proportion of matured fruits/flowers) in female individuals (approximately 79.29%) was, on an average, more than twice that of hermaphroditic ones (approximately 34.41%). In addition, female flowers produced more seeds per follicle. Usually, 5–6 seeds per follicle developed in female flowers, whereas 3–4 seeds were produced in the hermaphroditic flowers. Accordingly, A. aethusifolius is another example of a gynodioecious species of flowering plants with clear sexual dimorphism.


Aruncus aethusifolius Gynodioecy Rosaceae SEM Sexual dimorphism 



We would like to thank the directors of the herbaria of KB, KH, KHUS, KYO, NY, and TI for permitting the examination of specimens through loans. We are also grateful to our colleagues Dr. H.-K. Moon, S.-Y. Kim, and M.-J. Kong for helping us in various ways. Moreover, three anonymous reviewers and the handling editor Dr. Louis P. Ronse De Craene, whose comments and corrections improved the work, are also acknowledged. This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Sciences and Technology (NRF-2012R1A1A2004149) to S.-P. Hong.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Systematics, Department of BiologyKyung Hee UniversitySeoulKorea

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