Flowering cycles of woody bamboos native to southern South America


Neotropical woody bamboos range from northern Mexico to southern Argentina and Chile. The most interesting aspect of bamboo biology is their flowering habit. The species that are the most intriguing are those that manifest a cyclic pattern of gregarious flowering after long vegetative periods. The flowering cycle has been described in very few species. The goal was to identify mass flowering events of woody bamboo species native to Argentina and neighboring areas, and to estimate the flowering cycle of each species. Sixteen species were surveyed: Chusquea culeou, C. deficiens, C. lorentziana, C. montana, C. quila, C. ramosissima, C. tenella, C. valdiviensis; Colanthelia rhizantha; Guadua chacoensis, G. paraguayana, G. trinii; Merostachys clausenii, M. multiramea, Rhipidocladum neumannii and R. racemiflorum. To reconstruct flowering dates, information from literature and herbarium collections was consulted and more than 990 records were gathered. Flowering cycles were estimated by recording the intervals between reported flowering events. Evidence of regular flowering cycles of ca. 30 years was found for most of the species considered. There is a remarkable concentration of flowering cycles about multiples of 15–16 years. Flowering synchrony among different species of woody bamboos was recorded for the first time in South America.

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I am deeply grateful to my advisors, Prof. Zulma E. Rúgolo de Agrasar and Dr. M. Fernanda Rodríguez, for their constant support, guidance and assistance. This work received financial support through a grant of the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica de Argentina (PICT No. 2495). The Smithsonian Institution’s Cuatrecasas Award financed my research visit to US.

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Correspondence to Carolina Guerreiro.

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Representative material examined

Chusquea culeou E. Desv.: Argentina, Neuquén, Los Lagos, Villa La Angostura, 23 April 2009, Rúgolo 2332 (SI).

Chusquea deficiens Parodi: Argentina, Salta, Anta, Maíz Gordo mountain range, 10 January 1939, Devoto 1010 (BAA).

Chusquea lorentziana Griseb.: Argentina, Salta, Guachipas, Pampa Grande, 2 May 1942, Hunziker 1548 (SI).

Chusquea montana Phil.: Argentina, Neuquén, Los Lagos, Villa La Angostura, Bayo Mountain, 8 January 2010, Rúgolo 2343 (SI).

Chusquea quila Kunth: Chile, XI Región, Aisén, Palena river valley, 28 January 1994, Rúgolo 1980 (SI).

Chusquea ramosissima Lindm.: Argentina, Misiones, Iguazú, Iguazú National Park, 24 July 2010, Lizarazu and Guerreiro 27 (SI).

Chusquea tenella Nees: Argentina, Misiones, San Pedro, Piñalito Park, 6 March 2000, Deginani et al. 1746 (SI).

Chusquea valdiviensis E. Desv: Argentina, Neuquén, Los Lagos, Nahuel Huapi National Park, Victoria Island, February 1946, Peréz Moreau 58 (SI).

Colanthelia rhizantha (Hack.) McClure: Argentina, Misiones, Belgrano, Andresito falls, 1 March 1995, Zuloaga et al. 5137 (SI).

Guadua chacoensis (Rojas) Londoño & P. M. Peterson: Argentina, Corrientes, General Paz, Santa Isabel stream, 13 November 2004, Quarín 4291 (SI).

Guadua paraguayana Döll: Argentina, Santa Fe, Obligado, Villa Ocampo, 20 January 1974, Quarín 1917 (CTES - LIL).

Guadua trinii (Nees) Nees ex. Rupr.: Argentina, Misiones, Iguazú, Iguazú National Park, sendero Macuco, 21 July 2010, Lizarazu and Guerreiro 6 (SI).

Merostachys clausenii Munro: Argentina, Misiones, Iguazú, Iguazú National Park, sendero Macuco, 24 July 2010, Lizarazu and Guerreiro 28 (SI).

Merostachys multiramea Hack.: Argentina, Misiones, Cainguas, Cuña Pirú camping site, 24 November 2004, Zuloaga and Belgrano 8147 (SI).

Rhipidocladum neumannii Sulekic, Rúgolo & L. G. Clark: Argentina, Salta, José de San Martín, Pescado river, 2 May 2003, Morrone et al. 4555 (SI).

Rhipidocladum racemiflorum (Steud.) McClure: Argentina, Salta, Santa Victoria, Baritú National Park, 22 June 1999, Hilgert and Hill 2367 (SI).

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Guerreiro, C. Flowering cycles of woody bamboos native to southern South America. J Plant Res 127, 307–313 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-013-0593-z

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  • Bambuseae
  • Flowering cycles
  • Flowering synchrony
  • Herbarium data
  • Mass flowering events