Monocarpic Perennials

All monocarpic perennials spend more than a year in a vegetative stage before flowering once and then dying (Figure 2). Monocarpic perennials are mostly herbs and shrubs. The length of the vegetative period can be highly variable between plant species, from strictly biennial to long-lived monocarpic perennials. The population dynamics of this group of plants strongly depend on the environmental cues that determine flowering, which will subsequently lead to the death of reproductive individuals. Hence, events of heavy seed production are inevitably associated to events of high mortality among reproductive plants.

Figure 1 The annual crucifer Diplotaxis occurs in ruderal habitats. Annual plants complete the life cycle within one season.
Figure 2 Flowering stalk of the monocarpic plant Saxífraga longifolia in the Spanish Pyrenees. Reproduction is associated to mortality in monocarpic perennial plants. Photograph courtesy of María Begoña García.

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