Floral Morphology and Sexuality

  • K. R. Shivanna
  • Rajesh Tandon


Flowering plants show great variation in their size, longevity and morphology. They may be herbs or shrubs or trees or climbers or creepers or epiphytes. Their life span is also variable; they may be annuals or biennials or perennials. Annuals complete their life cycle in 1 year; they produce seeds towards the end of their life cycle and die. Biennials devote the first year to vegetative growth building up the reserve of resources and enter reproductive phase in the second year; after seed production they die. Perennials live for many years. When once they reach a required age (depending on the species), perennials enter reproductive phase repeatedly. In some perennial species, particularly the tree species, flowering does not occur every year; they flower in alternate years or at intervals of several years. Also the extent of flowering and fruiting may not be the same in each flowering season; some years they produce large seed crops alternating with years of lean or no seed production. In some such species, all the individuals of a population tend to synchronize their flowering event resulting in a bumper crop (masting) in years of large seed production (Kelly 1994; Fenner and Thompson 2005; Sakai et al. 2005).


Pollen Tube Female Flower Pollen Germination Male Flower Reproductive Allocation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Armstrong JE, Irvine AK (1989) Flowering, sex ratios, pollen-ovule ratios, fruit set, and reproductive effort of a dioecious tree, Myristica insipida (Myristicaceae), in two different rain forest communities. Am J Bot 76:74–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker HG (1974) The evolution of weeds. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 5:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bazzaz FA, Ackerly DD, Reekie EG (2000) Reproductive allocation in plants. In: Fenner M (ed) Seeds: the ecology of regeneration in plant communities, 2nd edn. CAB International, Wallingford, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. Cruden RW, Lyon DL (1985) Patterns of biomass allocation to male and female functions in plants with different mating systems. Oecologia 66:299–306Google Scholar
  5. de Jong TJ, Klinkhamer PGL (2005) Evolutionary ecology of plant reproductive strategies. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunthorn M (2004) Cryptic dioecy in Mammea (Clusiaceae). Plant Syst Evol 249:191–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fenner M, Thompson K (2005) The ecology of seeds. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gautam M, Vikas B, Tandon R (2009) Sexual system in Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken (Sapindaceae). Int J Plant Reprod Biol 1:73–80Google Scholar
  9. Groom PK, Lamont BB (2011) Regional and local effects on reproductive allocation in epicormic and lignotuberous populations of Banksia menziesii. Plant Ecol 212:2003–2011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kawagoe T, Suzuki N (2004) Cryptic dioecy in Actinidia polygama: a test of the pollinator attraction hypothesis. Can J Bot 82:214–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kelly D (1994) The evolutionary ecology of mast seeding. Trends Ecol Evol 9:465–470PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lawrence GHM (1951) Taxonomy of vascular plants. Macmillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Radford AE (1986) Fundamentals of plant systematics. Harper International Edition, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Sakai S, Momose K, Yumoto T et al (2005) Plant reproductive phenology and general flowering in a mixed dipterocarp forest. In: Roubik DW, Sakai S, Karim AAH (eds) Pollination ecology and the rain forest: Sarawak studies. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Sharma MV, Shaanker RU, Vasudeva R, Shivanna KR (2010) Functional dioecy in Nothapodytes nimmoniana, a distylous species in the Western Ghats. Curr Sci 99:1444–1449Google Scholar
  16. Sunnichan VG, Mohan Ram HY, Shivanna KR (2004) Floral sexuality and breeding system in gum karaya tree, Sterculia urens. Plant Syst Evol 244:201–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Tandon R, Manohara TN, Nijalingappa BHM, Shivanna KR (2001) Pollination and pollen-pistil interaction in oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. Ann Bot 87:831–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Vary LB, Sakai AK, Weller SG (2011) Morphological and functional sex expression in Malagasy endemic Tina striata (Sapindaceae). Am J Bot 98:1040–1048PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. R. Shivanna
    • 1
  • Rajesh Tandon
    • 2
  1. 1.Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)BengaluruIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations