Selection through female fitness helps to explain the maintenance of male flowers


Vallejo-Marin M & Rausher MD (2007) Selection through female fitness helps to explain the maintenance of male flowers. American Naturalist, 169 (5), pp. 563-568.

Andromonoecy, the production of both male and hermaphrodite flowers in the same individual, is a widespread phenomenon that occurs in approximately 4,000 species distributed in 33 families. Hypotheses for the evolution of andromonoecy suggest that the production of intermediate proportions of staminate flowers may be favored by selection acting through female components of fitness. Here we used the andromonoecious herb Solanum carolinense to determine the pattern of selection on the production of staminate flowers. A multivariate analysis of selection indicates that selection through female fitness favors the production of staminate flowers in at least one population. We conclude that this counterintuitive benefit of staminate flowers on female fitness highlights the importance of considering female components of fitness in the evolution of andromonoecy, a reproductive system usually interpreted as a "male" strategy.

andromonoecy; multivariate selection; nonfruiting flowers; Solanum carolinense; Solanaceae

American Naturalist: Volume 169, Issue 5

Publication date31/05/2007
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press/ American Society of Naturalists