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Flowering phenology and reproduction of the Solidago virgaurea L. complex along an elevational gradient on Mt Norikura, central Japan
- Sakurai, Akiko, Takahashi, Koichi
- Plant species biology 2017 v.32 no.4 pp. 270-278
- Solidago virgaurea, Syrphidae, altitude, flowering, fruits, growing season, phenology, plant establishment, pollinators, reproductive traits, seed germination, seeds, Japan
- This study examined the flowering phenology and reproductive traits of the Solidago virgaurea complex at four elevations in the subalpine zone in Japan using a bagging experiment. Flowering started earlier at higher elevations. Syrphid flies mainly visited flowers of the S. virgaurea complex, and the number of visits was considerably lower at the lowest elevation than at the three other elevations. Although the number of seeds per individual did not differ among the four elevations, total achene weight per individual was lower at the lowest elevation than at the three other elevations. The weight of an achene and seed germination rate of the control were much greater at higher elevations than at the lowest elevation. The weight of an achene and germination rate for the control were as low as the bagging treatment at the lowest elevation with infrequent flower visitors, which indicates that the S. virgaurea complex is a facultative outcrosser. The S. virgaurea complex is thought to produce seeds during a short growing season at high elevations by starting to flower earlier, and the large seed size is advantageous for seedling establishment at high elevations. Therefore, elevational changes in flowering phenology and reproductive traits are thought to be an adaptation to the short growing season at high elevations.