Flexibility in gender expression

Jennifer Steinbach steinbaj at mast.mast.queensu.ca
Fri Mar 5 17:14:50 EST 1993


I am writing a paper for a plant population biology course based on
the subject WHY PLANTS CHANGE SEX.

I am having some troubles understanding the difference between
various terms.  I understand that there are species (eg. Arisaema)
that are considered to be diphasic (alternating between two distinct
gender phases) and those that aren't diphasic, but still show
flexibility.  According to Lloyd (N.Z.Bot., 1979), these show
labile gender.

My problem lies with the connection between gender flexibility and
the traditional breeding system names (dioecious, monoecious, etc.).
If a plant is dioecious, can it still exhibit diphasy or labile gender?

A vast majority of the articles I have read to date concentrate on
monoecious or andromonoecious species.  I thought I had these two
forms of gender straightened out until today - I came across a paper
the examines gender flexibility in the dioecious Atriplex sp.  Now I
am really confused.  

Could somebody enlighten me on this connection?

Jennifer Steinbachs
email: steinbaj at mast.queensu.ca



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