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Reproductive ecology of Viola mirabilis var. subglabra representing intermediate flowering characteristics between stemless and stemmed Viola

Shinohara, Yoshinori, Yamagishi, Hiroki, Hayamizu, Masato, Onishi, Ohjiro, Ohara, Masashi
Plant species biology 2017 v.32 no.4 pp. 432-439
Viola, environmental factors, flowering, leaves, phenology, reproduction, Japan
Viola (Violaceae) is one of the largest genera in angiosperms. This genus is essentially classified into stemless and stemmed groups based on growth morphology. However, Viola mirabilis var. subglabra is an exception in having intermediate flowering characteristics; cleistogamous (CL) flowers are formed in the axils of stem leaves, whereas chasmogamous (CH) flowers arise from basal rosettes (radical CH (CH(r)) flowers) and also in the axils of the stem (axially CH (CH(a)) flowers). To understand why the pattern of flower production varies in this Viola species, flower production was investigated in 10 Japanese populations from Hokkaido to the western part of Honshu in 2014 and 2015. Furthermore, flower characteristics were also compared between CH(r) and CH(a) flowers in Hokkaido. In this species, the production of CH flowers varied among individuals, and they were categorized into three groups, individuals that produced (i) only CH(r) flowers, (ii) only CH(a) flowers and (iii) both CH flowers. The frequency of these groups differed among populations, but some individuals changed the category between 2014 and 2015. Thus, the production of CH(r) and CH(a) flowers plastically changes depending on individual conditions and/or environmental factors. On the other hand, CH(r) and CH(a) flowers differed in flower size and flowering phenology. These results suggest that two types of CH flowers may play different roles in reproduction in each population, but fruit sets and seed sets did not differ between two types of CH flowers.