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Age Of Maturity And Life Span In Herbaceous, Polycarpic Perennials

Author: M.H. Bender, J.M. Baskin, C.C. Baskin

Publication: The Botanical Review, July-September 2000, 66(3): 311-349


A review of age of maturity in herbaceous, polycarpic perennials found that the most common year of earliest maturity for wild and cultivated conditions was the second year of life, followed by the first- and then the third year. A comparison of age of maturity in wild and cultivated conditions for individual taxa confirmed the assumption that perennials generally do not mature sooner in the wild than they do in cultivation. This validated the use of the pattern for maturity in cultivation (second-year or later) against which to judge that for maturity in the wild. For plants of the same age of maturity, those with clonal growth had longer life spans than those with little or no clonal growth. This difference in life span was more pronounced for plants of first- and second-year maturity than it was for those of later maturity. Herbaceous, polycarpic perennials in the wild generally were either short-lived with first-year maturity or long-lived with later maturity. These results were also true for non-clonal taxa only. For application to the real world, theoretical plant population models must take these results into account.

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Abstract reprinted by permission, New York Botanical Garden Press.

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