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Brazilian Journal of Botany

On-line version ISSN 1806-9959

Abstract

LENZA, Eddie  and  OLIVEIRA, Paulo Eugênio. Reproductive biology and phenology of Virola sebifera Aubl. (Myristicaceae) in a mesophytic forest of Uberlândia, MG, Brazil. Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.3, pp. 443-541. ISSN 1806-9959.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042006000300011.

We studied some aspects of the floral and reproductive biology of Virola sebifera Aubl., a dioecious woody species of mesophytic forest in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais. The sex of 54 individuals in the study area was determined in three consecutive reproductive periods. Reproductive phenology of 11 individuals of each sex was followed from October 1998 to April 2000. The sex ratio was always male biased and no sex change was observed, which indicates sexual stability. The flowering was annual, relatively long and massive (cornucopia type) with male individuals blooming earlier and for a longer period than the female ones. Flowers, grouped in paniculate inflorescences, were small (3 and 4 mm long for male and female flowers respectively) and inconspicuous, with an infundibuliforme periant and inserted reproductive whorls. Both male and female flowers have long lifespan (ca. one week). Pollen in male flowers is the sole floral reward. Strong scent and similar flower morphology between sexes may lead to visits to rewardless female flowers (floral self-mimicry). Natural pollination resulted in relatively low number of initiated fruits (5.8%). Fruit-set from bagged unpollinated flowers (apomixis) were much lower than from natural pollination. These results show that V. sebifera depends upon pollination services for seed production although flower visitors were rarely seen during the study and effective pollinators of the species could not be clearly defined.

Keywords : breeding system; dioecy; floral biology; mimicry; phenology.

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