Journal of Tropical Ecology

Reproductive biology of the dioecious understorey palm Chamaedorea radicalis in a Mexican cloud forest: pollination vector, flowering phenology and female fecundity

Eric J. Berry a1 and David L. Gorchov a1
a1 Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA

Article author query
berry ej   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
gorchov dl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The reproductive biology of the dioecious understorey palm Chamaedorea radicalis was investigated in order to identify the primary pollen vector and quantify the relationship between female fecundity and local neighbourhood sexual composition. The study was conducted in a montane mesophyll forest within the El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The species is considered vulnerable in Mexico and there are concerns about the sustainability of leaf harvest. We determined that wind is the primary pollen vector, based both on floral and pollen morphological characters, and on a pollinator exclosure experiment. Successful wind pollination of this understorey palm was facilitated by the extended flowering period of males, which allows one male to be a source of pollen to receptive females for as long as a month. The number of flowers and fruits borne on a female were dependent on female size, however, no size parameter correlated well with fruit set. Fruit set was also not dependent on local sexual composition, male density or distance to the nearest male, suggesting that in this study area female reproductive success is not limited by the availability of pollen.

(Accepted May 19 2003)

Key Words: Arecaceae; Chamaedorea radicalis; dioecy; fruit set; Mexico; sex ratio; wind-pollination.