Breeding systems in a secondary deciduous forest in Venezuela: the importance of life form, habitat, and pollination specificity

Document Type


Publication Date


Volume Number


Source Publication

Plant Systematics and Evolution


Breeding systems and mating systems of plants in a previously studied secondary deciduous forest were reanalysed in the context of new data. In this analysis, we increased the number of plant species (up to approximately 25% of the plant species in the community), included other life forms (23 annual and perennial species, plus habitat disturbance categories), and considered information about pollinator specificity. The frequencies of species with different sexual systems in a sample of 51 species were 82% hermaphrodite, 14% monoecious, and 4% dioecious. The frequencies of breeding systems in the sample of 49 hermaphroditic and monoecious species were 53% self-incompatible and 47% self-compatible. Self-compatible species included seven partially self-compatible, three self-compatible non-autogamous, and 13 self-compatible autogamous species. None of the species evaluated proved to be agamospermous. Fifty-five percent of the species tested were obligate outbreeders. The proportion of self-incompatible species was higher among trees and shrubs than among annual herbs. The proportion of self-compatible species for perennial herbs and lianas was not different. The association between annual herbs and autogamy was not strong: seven of 13 species were autogamous, five were partially self-compatible, and one was self-incompatible. The main characteristics or factors associated with breeding system were life cycle and successional stage. Short-lived species were mostly self-compatible, and xenogamy tended to be associated with forest and forest-border. In contrast, pollination specificity and life form were not consistently related to breeding system (self-compatibility or self-incompatibility) and mating system (xenogamy or autogamy).