Sexual dimorphism of reproductive allocation at shoot and tree levels in Zanthoxylum ailanthoides, a pioneer dioecious tree

Matsuyama, Shuhei; Sakimoto, Michinori
October 2010
Botany;Oct2010, Vol. 88 Issue 10, p867
Academic Journal
Sexual dimorphisms are often found in reproductive allocation and vegetative growth, and these sexual dimorphisms may lead to a reduction of subsequent reproductive allocation in woody dioecious species. However, in some species, female-biased reproductive allocation does not result in a reduction of subsequent reproductive allocation in females. To clarify the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, we studied the dioecious tree Zanthoxylum ailanthoides Sieb. et Zucc., in which leafing and inflorescence development occur sequentially. Reproductive allocation and vegetative growth were examined in both sexes at the shoot and tree levels. At tree level, they were evaluated with respect to flowering frequency and annual tree-ring width over 5 years. Reproductive allocation per shoot in females was 1.7× that in males. The ratio of reproductive to total current-year shoots per tree in males was 1.2× that in females. Reproductive allocation in females exceeded that of males by a factor of 1.5 at the tree level, which was less than that at the shoot level, owing to modular integrity. Biased vegetative growth was not detected at the leaf, shoot, or tree level, suggesting that a compensatory mechanism is not employed by this species. The results support the conclusion that a species-specific phenophase sequence of Z. ailanthoides enables females to achieve consecutive reproductive allocation.


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