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Seed Variation in Wild Radish: Effect of Seed Size on Components of Seedling and Adult Fitness

Stanton, Maureen L.
Ecology 1984 v.65 no.4 pp. 1105-1112
Raphanus raphanistrum, adults, experimental design, fecundity, field experimentation, flowers, fruits, genetic variation, greenhouse production, habitats, planting, radishes, seedlings, seeds
Seed mass in wild radius (Raphanus raphanistrum) varies up to sixfold within single fruits. The impact of such variation on subsequent growth and fecundity was studied. Seeds from single fruits were used to minimize genetic differences among individuals. Weighed seeds were planted close together in a disturbed area typical of Raphanus habitats. Large seeds (>6 mg) were more likely to emerge as seedlings than were small seeds (<4 mg). Seed size had no effect on emergence time. Seedlings from large seeds grew more rapidly and produced more flowers than did those from related smaller seeds. Results from the field experiment contrasted with those obtained in greenhouse growth studies, where seed size had no significant effect on final plant size. This study points out two factors that have led to inconsistent results in previous studies of seed size and seedling success: (1) differences in the timing of growth measurements, and (2) the presence or absence of competitive inequities among neighbors within the experimental design.