New insights into secondary sexual dimorphic traits in monoecious Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) in Quintana Roo, Mexico
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The production of unisexual flowers may favor an adjustment of floral traits to gender at plant level. In this research, the secondary sexual dimorphic traits in a native population of monoecious Jatropha curcas in Mexico were studied. Specifically, the extent and direction of the bias in sexual dimorphism of flower number and size, as well as nectar production were studied (15–20 plants). In the native population of the species, the male: female flower ratio was 7:1, whereas operational sex ratio was 2:1. Female flowers had longer and wider corollas than male flowers. Nectar-rewarding male flowers and non-rewarding female ones were observed. The extent and direction of the bias in sexual dimorphism of flower number and size, as well as nectar production were consistent with predictions based on dioecious and monoecious species in tropical region. This study highlights the important influence that population-level variation can have on variants of sexual dimorphic traits and its potential adaptive significance when viewed in the light of monoecious breeding system.
KeywordsBiofuel Gender-related traits Physic nut Rewardless flowers Tropical region Unisexual flowers
I thank Canto family for granting permission to carry out the fieldwork in their farm. I am also grateful to Paul M. Ramsay, and two anonymous reviewers for greatly improving an earlier version of this manuscript.
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