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Inferring genet development: Interplay of meristem commitment and genet integrity.
Ganger, Mike*,1, 1 Department of Biology, North Adams, MA, USA
ABSTRACT- Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense Desf.) is a rhizomatous, perennial herb common to the understory of mixed coniferous-deciduous forests in New England. Mayflower genets consist of multiple ramets. In a given year, ramets may exist as either flowering (2-3 leaves and a terminal inflorescence consisting of 4-35 perfect flowers) or vegetative (1 leaf) shoots. Production of a flowering shoot requires commitment of a terminal meristem. If this meristem is not committed then the ramet will exist as a vegetative shoot in the following year. The recruitment of flowering shoots into Mayflower populations has relevance to their ecology and evolution. A two-year field study was undertaken to identify factors related to recruitment of flowering shoots. Ages of ramets varied significantly, with those existing as flowering shoots older on average than those existing as vegetative shoots. In both years, greater than 50% of ramets existing as flowering shoots were more likely to exist as isolated ramets (not connected to other ramets). Isolated ramets existing as vegetative shoots were more likely than expected to flowering in the following year. Ramets existing as vegetative shoots connected to a ramet both basipetal and acropetal were less likely than expected to flower in the following year.
Key words: ramet, genet, Maianthemum canadense