Experimental studies on the distribution of the sexes of Mercurialis perennis L.

K.M. Wade, Richard A. Armstrong, S.R.J. Woodell

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Abstract

1) In a beechwood, male shoots of Mercurialis perennis were more frequent than female shoots in canopy openings, while females were more frequent at treebases than in canopy openings. 2) Flowering shoots were more frequent than non-flowering in openings. 3) The pH, moisture and organic content of the soil were similar at treebases and openings. The light climate was similar in both habitats in April but greater in the openings in August. 4) Removal of canopies of Pteridium aquilinum and Rubus fruticosus, above populations of M. perennis, resulted in a greater increase in the numbers of male shoots than of female shoots. 5) These results suggest that male and female plants differ in numbers, or growth, in different woodland microhabitats and that these differences are correlated with the above-ground environment (e.g. light).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume87
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1981

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Keywords

  • beechwood
  • male shoots
  • Mercurialis perennis
  • frequency
  • female shoots
  • woodland microhabitats
  • above-ground environment

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