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Alternative modes in dispersal strategies, with an emphasis on herbaceous plants of the Middle East

  • Uzi Plitmann (a1)


Hypotheses concerning diaspore behaviour are presented. It is suggested that in many plants, dispersal strategy involves alternative agents (2 or more vectors) and combination of distances. The hypotheses are substantiated by data compiled from observations of dispersal modes and mechanisms in herbaceous plant species of the Middle East. Two special modes, heterocarpy and amphicarpy, represent complex strategies with different propagules on the same individual. Amphicarpy resembles cryptophytic life-form in many respects. In several other cases the same propagule can be dispersed for various distances by a single vector or through alternative modes. Combination of long-range, short-range, and in situ dispersal is described for many species; Compositae of Turkey serve as a study case of the possible abundance of this strategy.

Several combinations of different vectors that can distribute the same diaspores, alternately or successively, are recorded. It seems that the combination of wind and temporary water currents is quite common in our region. Cruciferae of Israel serve as a study case of the possible abundance of this strategy and its various combinations. It is concluded that dispersal strategies with alternate modes are typical of many herbaceous species and probably adopted by most angiosperms. The one-to-one conservative relationships between adaptation and mode, mechanism and agent, are rather misleading. An adaptation or a syndrome should not be rigidly defined as they may function in more than one way. Often, the alternate mode can be more effective than the mode attributed to that particular syndrome. By such strategy a plant can better guarantee its distribution in space.



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Alternative modes in dispersal strategies, with an emphasis on herbaceous plants of the Middle East

  • Uzi Plitmann (a1)


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