1. We assessed the influence of the spatial pattern of leaf damage on growth and reproduction (through both male and female functions) of the wild gourd, Cucurbita pepo L. ssp. texana at three structural levels of the plant (nodes, primary branches and entire branch systems). 2. We applied concentrated or dispersed leaf damage treatments (removing 5% of original leaf area in both), and compared their effects on 12 traits, ranging from the production of new nodes through flower production to pollen performance and seed number/size. 3. Only one of the traits was affected by the spatial pattern of damage, and then only at the primary branch level, where pollen performance was greater in the concentrated than in the dispersed treatment. 4. Regardless of the spatial pattern of damage, we found that low to moderate levels of foliar damage significantly affected very few traits. This indicates a high tolerance of simulated herbivory. Overcompensation for one trait (pollen performance) occurred at the node and primary branch levels. 5. The results suggest that compensatory resources can be translocated within damaged branches.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science