Life histories of desert geophytes -the demographic consequences of reproductive biomass partitioning patterns

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21 Scopus citations


During five consecutive growing seasons (winters) ca. 110 plants of the desert geophyte Bellevalia desertorum were marked individually in a 25 m2 plot on a south-facing slope in the central Negev Desert of Israel. The number of rosette leaves of each plant was recorded, as well as whether it flowered and produced seeds. Multiple regression analysis of the data on the B. desertorum individuals showed that the reproductive state of a plant was determined by 1) its previous size and 2) the current conditions (rainfall), but not by previous conditions, nor by previous reproductive activity. Plant surveys supported these findings. These demographic results were consistent with the current understanding of the reproductive resource allocation pattern of B. desertorum. Flowering was most affected by rainfall until January of the same season, the number of leaves by rainfall until March and seed set was by the total annual amount. Surveys in populations of B. eigii, a species of more mesic habitats in the Negev Desert suggested that in this species there is a negative effect of previous reproduction in combination with the previous and current conditions, which is also expected from its biomass partitioning pattern. The significance of demographic studies of individual plants in natural populations for the interpretation of experimentally determined resource partitioning patterns was discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1989


  • Bellevalia desertorum
  • Bulbous plants
  • Demography
  • Rainfall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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