A role of rhizome on the evolution of mass flowering in bamboos
Bamboos are monocarpic clonal plants that undergo mass flowering after the long-period of rhizomatous clonal growth. The time to flowering after germination ranges from 3 years to 120 years, depending on species. Although knowledge about flowering is limited, it has been reported that flowering time positively correlates with the length of rhizome. In this talk, we explore the evolution of flowering time in bamboos by using an spatially-explicit mathematical model. We focus on the role of inter-ramet distance mediated by rhizome length, which determines the spatial arrangement of ramets. Plants with long rhizome can establish their clone far from the origin, but plants with short rhizome make clumped spatial structure. We demonstrate that larger rhizome drives longer flowering time as the evolutionary consequence. We discuss the cause of the result in terms of kin-competition theory. Our results underscore the importance of the life history aspects to understand how plants utilize meristem as optimal responses to their circumstances.
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