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Flowering phenology of tropical-alpine dwarf trees on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2004

Gaku Kudo
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan
Shizuo Suzuki
Affiliation:
Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan Present address: Department of Environmental Simulation, Institute for Environmental Science, Rokkasho, Aomori 039-3212, Japan

Abstract

The flowering phenology of five alpine dwarf-tree species was observed in the summit region (3900–3950 m elevation) of Mt. Kinabalu on Borneo Island from March 1998 to November 2001. For each target species, 20–50 individual plants were numbered in two observation plots and the number of inflorescences was monitored at 2–3-mo intervals. The flowering patterns varied among species. Rhododendron buxifolium bloomed extensively every March–May at the main plot but the flowering pattern at the subplot was less predictable. Mass flowering occurred in March 1998 when drought stress was very severe due to an El Niño event. Rhododendron ericoides showed continuous flowering throughout the year and high synchrony between the plots. Extensive flowering of Leptospermum recurvum occurred synchronously within and between plots in the early half of 1999, then flowering activity decreased greatly. Photinia davidiana showed an annual flowering cycle but the timing of the peak flowering differed between the plots. Vaccinium stapfianum showed synchronous flowering between the plots and the flowering peak appeared at longer than 1-y intervals. Plant size was positively correlated with mean flower production in all species, and with the flowering frequency of R. ericoides, R. buxifolium, and V. stapfianum at one of the plots at least. Two fleshy-fruited species, P. davidiana and V. stapfianum, had high selfing ability for fruit production and showed relatively low flowering synchrony among individuals in comparison with the other species. These results indicate that the trigger for initiation of flowering may differ among sympatric species in a tropical-alpine ecosystem at least in normal years.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2004 Cambridge University Press

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