Publication details

Inflorescence preformation prior to winter: a surprisingly widespread strategy that drives phenology of temperate perennial herbs

Investor logo
Investor logo


Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source New Phytologist
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords disturbance; flowering phenology; genome size; herbaceous perennial; organ preformation; overwintering buds; phylogenetic analysis; temperate climate
Description Organ preformation in overwintering buds of perennial plants has been known for almost two centuries. It is hypothesized to underlie fast growth and early flowering, but its frequency, phylogenetic distribution, and ecological relevance have never been systematically examined. We microscopically observed inflorescence preformation in overwintering buds (IPB) in the autumn. We studied a phylogenetically and ecologically representative set of 330 species of temperate perennial angiosperms and linked these observations with quantitative data on species' flowering phenology, genome size, and ecology. IPB was observed in 34% of species examined (in 14% species the stamens and/or pistils were already developed). IPB is fairly phylogenetically conserved and frequent in many genera (Alchemilla,Carex,Euphorbia,Geranium,Primula,Pulmonaria) or families (Ranunculaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Violaceae, Boraginaceae). It was found in species of any genome size, although it was almost universal in those with large genomes. Compared with non-IPB species, IPB species flowered 38 d earlier on average and were more common in shaded and undisturbed habitats. IPB is a surprisingly widespread adaptation for early growth in predictable (undisturbed) conditions. It contributes to temporal niche differentiation and has important consequences for understanding plant phenology, genome size evolution, and phylogenetic structure of plant communities.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info