Populations of Arenaria uniflora exhibit intraspecific variation in floral size and degree of protandry in association with the evolution of self‐pollination. Heterochrony, or a simple change in the absolute timing or rate of developmental events, is proposed as the evolutionary mechanism underlying the origin of the small, self‐pollinating flowers from their large, outcrossing progenitors. Inflorescence growth in two autogamous populations and their related outcrossing progenitors was studied to provide the temporal data necessary for testing the hypothesis of heterochrony. All four races showed significant variation in the growth and mature length of inflorescence organs. Inflorescences of selfing races were smaller, and had slower relative growth rates and a two‐fold increase in the plastochron relative to outcrossing populations. The large‐flowered races were both significantly protandrous. A more detailed growth analysis of flower development in two races indicated that the selfing flowers develop at a slower rate and for a longer duration relative to outcrossing flowers. The implications of these temporal changes in floral ontogeny for the heterochronic origin of self‐pollinating floral forms are considered.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of evolutionary biology|
|State||Published - Jul 1992|
- relative growth rate