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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X

Abstract

BERNACCI, Luís Carlos; MARTINS, Fernando Roberto  and  SANTOS, Flavio Antonio Maës dos. Structure of ontogenetic stages in a native population of the palm Syagrus romanzoffiana (Cham.) Glassman (Arecaceae). Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2008, vol.22, n.1, pp.119-130. ISSN 0102-3306.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-33062008000100014.

Syagrus romanzoffiana is ecologically and economically important, including the production of good-quality hearts of palm. Aiming to describe this plant's basic life cycle, we studied a natural population in the swamp forest at the Santa Genebra Reserve, Campinas municipality, São Paulo state. Observations and measurements were made, and repeated after 400 ± 3 days, in 100 randomly located plots (5×5 m) and sub-plots (2×2 m), in an area of 1 ha. Six ontogenetic stages were recognized: seedling (narrow entire leaf), juvenile phase 1 (entire leaf, width > 2 cm), juvenile phase 2 (segmented leaf), immature (segmented leaf, aerial stem), virgin (aerial stem, cauligenous roots), and reproductive (cauligenous roots and periodic presence of reproductive structures). Since the moment of trophic independence could not be determined in the field, leaf characteristics were used to identify seedlings. Seedlings live for a long time in the low light of the understory. Even though significant differences could be observed, size and leaf production overlapped among different stages. Remote germination, used to explain the widespread occurrence of the species even in dry regions, and cauligenous roots that improve fixation and nutrition previous to reproduction in swamp forests, are morphological structures and properties acquired or lost in each stage that may represent adaptive advantages under different circumstances during ontogeny of S. romanzoffiana.

Keywords : stage-structured population; forest fragment; Atlantic Forest; swamp forest; Brazil.

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