The invasiveness of Hypochaeris glabra (Asteraceae): Responses in morphological and reproductive traits for exotic populations.

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    • Abstract:
      Scientists have been interested in many topics driven by biological invasions, such as shifts in the area of distribution of plant species and rapid evolution. Invasiveness of exotic plant species depends on variations on morphological and reproductive traits potentially associated with reproductive fitness and dispersal ability, which are expected to undergo changes during the invasion process. Numerous Asteraceae are invasive and display dimorphic fruits, resulting in a bet-hedging dispersal strategy –wind-dispersed fruits versus animal-dispersed fruits–. We explored phenotypic differentiation in seed morphology and reproductive traits of exotic (Chilean) and native (Spanish) populations of Hypochaeris glabra. We collected flower heads from five Spanish and five Chilean populations along rainfall gradients in both countries. We planted seeds from the ten populations in a common garden trial within the exotic range to explore their performance depending on the country of origin (native or exotic) and the environmental conditions at population origin (precipitation and nutrient availability). We scored plant biomass, reproductive traits and fruit dimorphism patterns. We observed a combination of bet-hedging strategy together with phenotypic differentiation. Native populations relied more on bet-hedging while exotic populations always displayed greater proportion of wind-dispersed fruits than native ones. This pattern may reflect a strategy that might entail a more efficient long distance dispersal of H. glabra seeds in the exotic range, which in turn can enhance the invasiveness of this species. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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