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Lack of trade-offs between the male and female sexual functions in the gynodioecious herb Geranium sylvaticum

Varga, Sandra, Kytöviita, Minna-Maarit
Plant ecology 2017 v.218 no.10 pp. 1163-1170
Geranium, correlation, females, flowers, gynodioecy, male fertility, males, resource allocation, seeds, sex allocation, stamens
Resource allocation trade-offs between sexual functions are predicted, but these are usually measured only at the whole plant level. In some gynodioecious species, individuals with partially restored male fertility exist providing an opportunity to investigate whether the costs associated with male fertility restoration are linked to seed production. In this study, we examined whether there is a relationship between the numbers of stamens and seeds produced both at the flower level and at the plant level in the gynodioecious herb Geranium sylvaticum. We individually marked flowers in plants varying in the degree of male sterility in the field and counted the number of seeds produced. There was no significant correlation between the numbers of stamens and seeds produced at the flower level suggesting an absence of resource trade-off between female and male functions. Furthermore, the numbers of stamens and seeds were positively correlated at the plant level. The lack of trade-offs between the two sexual functions in this species indicates that relative sex allocation was not affected by resources within a single season and/or that the male costs were relatively small.