Floral Biology pp 112-139 | Cite as

Floral Longevity: Fitness Consequences and Resource Costs



Floral longevity (the period of time from anthesis to floral senescence) plays an important role in the reproductive ecology of plants. As noted by Primack (1985), the length of time a flower is open can influence its total number of pollinator visits, which, in turn, can affect the amount and diversity of pollen a flower receives, and the amount of pollen it disseminates. Additionally, floral longevity contributes to determining the number of flowers open at any given time (floral display size), the duration of floral display, and the total number of flowers per plant. Ultimately, floral longevity influences many factors that determine the quantity and quality of progeny a plant produces. Over the period of time that a flower functions and contributes to plant fitness, it receives resources to remain alive and attractive to pollinators. Such floral maintenance expenditures may compete with future flower production or other plant functions if plant resources are limited. From an adaptive perspective, therefore, the plant’s floral longevity should reflect the balance between fitness consequences and maintenance costs.


Maintenance Cost Construction Cost Fitness Consequence Resource Cost Nectar Production 
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© Chapman & Hall 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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