Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-csfzr Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-22T17:35:50.870Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

How do habitat and climate variation affect phenology of the Amazonian palm, Mauritia flexuosa?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2013

Roxaneh Khorsand Rosa*
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, University Park, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, Florida 33199, USA
Reinaldo Imbrozio Barbosa
National Institute for Research in Amazonia-INPA, Department of Environmental Dynamics-CDAM, Nucleus of Roraima, Roraima, Brazil
Suzanne Koptur
Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, University Park, 11200 SW 8th St., Miami, Florida 33199, USA
1Corresponding author. Email:


Although the dioecious palm, Mauritia flexuosa plays a pivotal role in Amazonian ecology and economy, little is known about its flowering and fruiting patterns. We investigated the role of habitat and inter-annual precipitation in the phenology of M. flexuosa. We calculated sex ratios and recorded phenology for 20 mo in four populations (N = 246) of savanna–forest ecotone (two sites) and forest (two sites) habitat in Roraima, Brazilian Amazonia. Sex ratios were significantly female-biased, and >98% of females set fruit. No significant relationship was found between habitat and sex. Flowering occurred at the wet/dry season interface (August–November), and fruit maturation occurred during the wet season (May–August). Males and females flowered synchronously, and neither the onset nor termination of flowering differed significantly between habitats. Flowering was negatively associated with present precipitation and positively correlated with prior precipitation (3 mo). Fruiting was positively associated with present precipitation and unrelated to prior precipitation (3 mo). We conclude that habitat has an insignificant effect, although short-term climatic variation may influence phenology of this species in northern Amazonia. These results highlight the need for long-term studies relating flowering and fruiting events, and inter-annual climatic variation.

Short Communication
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



ÅGREN, J. 1988. Between-year variation in flowering and fruit set in frost-prone and frost-sheltered populations of dioecious Rubus chamaemorus. Oecologia 76:175183.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
BATEMAN, A. J. 1948. Intra-sexual selection in Drosophila. Heredity 2:349368.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
BARBOSA, R. I., MOURÃO, M., CASADIO, G. M. L. & SILVA, S. J. R. 2012. Reproductive phenology of the main tree species in the Roraima savanna, Brazilian Amazon. Ecotropica 18:8191.Google Scholar
BAWA, K. S. 1980. Evolution of dioecy in flowering plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11:1539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BAWA, K. S., KANG, H. & GRAYUM, M. H. 2003. Relationships among time, frequency, and duration of flowering in tropical rain forest trees. American Journal of Botany 90:877887.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
BAZZAZ, F. A. 1979. The physiological ecology of plant succession. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 10:351371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BERTILLER, M. B., SAIN, C. L., BISIGATO, A. J., CORONATO, F. J., ARES, J. O. & GRAFF, P. 2002. Spatial sex segregation in the dioecious grass Poa ligularis in northern Patagonia: the role of environmental patchiness. Biodiversity and Conservation 11:6984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BORCHERT, R. 1994. Soil and stem water storage determine phenology and distribution of tropical dry forest trees. Ecology 75:14371449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BRIGHTSMITH, D. J. 2005. Parrot nesting in southeastern Peru: seasonal patterns and keystone trees. Wilson Bulletin 117:296305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
BULLOCK, S. H. & SOLIS-MAGALLANES, J. A. 1990. Phenology of canopy trees of a tropical deciduous forest in Mexico. Biotropica 22:2235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
CROAT, T. B. 1975. Phenological behavior of habit and habitat classes on Barro Colorado Island (Panama Canal zone). Biotropica 7:270277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DOUST, J. L., EL-KEBLAWY, A., FREEMAN, D. C., MCARTHUR, E. D. & MIGLIA, K. J. 1997. Sexual specialization and inbreeding avoidance in the evolution of dioecy. Botanical Review 63:6592.Google Scholar
FRIEDMAN, J. & BARRETT, S. C. H. 2009. Wind of change: new insights on the ecology and evolution of pollination and mating in wind-pollinated plants. Annals of Botany 103:15151527.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
GOULDING, M. & SMITH, N. 2007. Palms: sentinels for Amazon conservation. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. 356 pp.Google Scholar
HAMANN, A. 2004. Flowering and fruiting phenology of a Philippine submontane rain forest: climatic factors as proximate and ultimate causes. Journal of Ecology 92:2431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HAUGAASEN, T. & PERES, C. A. 2005. Tree phenology in adjacent Amazonian flooded and unflooded forests. Biotropica 37:620630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HOFFMANN, W. A. & FRANCO, A. C. 2003. Comparative growth analysis of tropical forest and savanna woody plants using phylogenetically independent contrasts. Journal of Ecology 91:475484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HORN, C. M., GILMORE, M. P. & ENDRESS, B. A. 2012. Ecological and socio-economic factors influencing aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa) resource management in two indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Forest Ecology and Management 267:93103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
HÜLBER, K., WINKLER, M. & GRABHERR, G. 2010. Intraseasonal climate and habitat-specific variability controls the flowering phenology of high alpine plant species. Functional Ecology 24: 245252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
INOUYE, D. W. 2008. Effects of climate change on phenology, frost damage, and floral abundance of montane wildflowers. Ecology 89:353362.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
KHORSAND ROSA, R. & KOPTUR, S. 2013. New findings on the pollination biology of Mauritia flexuosa (Arecaceae) in Roraima, Brazil: linking dioecy, wind, and habitat. American Journal of Botany 100:613621.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
KÖPPEN, W. 1936. Das geographisca System der Climate. Pp. 144 in Köppen, W. & Geiger, G. (eds.). Handbuch der Klimatologie. Gebrüder Borntraeger, Berlin.Google Scholar
KUDO, G. & HIRAO, A. S. 2006. Habitat-specific responses in the flowering phenology and seed set of alpine plants to climate variation: implications for global-change impacts. Population Ecology 48:4958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
LI, W., ZHANG, P., YE, J., LI, L. & BAKER, P. A. 2011. Impact of two different types of El Niño events on the Amazon climate and ecosystem productivity. Journal of Plant Ecology 4:9199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MAYLE, F. E., LANGSTROTH, R. P., FISHER, R. A. & MEIR, P. 2007. Long-term forest–savannah dynamics in the Bolivian Amazon: implications for conservation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (B) 362:291307.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
MCLAREN, K. P. & MCDONALD, M. A. 2005. Seasonal patterns of flowering and fruiting in a dry tropical forest in Jamaica. Biotropica 37:584590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
RATHCKE, B. & LACEY, E. P. 1985. Phenological patterns of terrestrial plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 16:179214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
SINGH, K. P. & KUSHWAHA, C. P. 2005. Emerging paradigms of tree phenology in dry tropics. Current Science 89:964975.Google Scholar
SPERA, M. R. N., CUNHA, R. & TEIXEIRA, J. B. 2001. Quebra de dormência, viabilidade e conservação de sementes de buriti (Mauritia flexuosa). Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira 12:15671572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
STORTI, E. F. 1993. Biologia floral de Mauritia flexuosa Lin. Fil. na região de Manaus, AM, Brasil. Acta Amazônica 23:371381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
TOBLER, M. W., JANOVEC, J. P. & CORNEJO, F. 2010. Frugivory and seed dispersal by the lowland tapir Tapirus terrestris in the Peruvian Amazon. Biotropica 42: 215222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
URREGO GIRALDO, L. E. 1987. Estudio preliminar de la fenologia da la canangucha (Mauritia flexousa L. f.). Colombia Amazónica 2:5781.Google Scholar
WALLACE, R. B. & PAINTER, R. L. E. 2002. Phenological patterns in a southern Amazonian tropical forest: implications for sustainable management. Forest Ecology and Management 160:1933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar