We examined in the field the effect of the vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorhizal symbiosis on the reproductive success of Abutilon theophrasti Medic., an early successional annual member of the Malvaceae. Mycorrhizal infection greatly enhanced vegetative growth, and flower, fruit and seed production, resulting in significantly greater recruitment the following year. In addition, the seeds produced by mycorrhizal plants were significantly larger and contained significantly more phosphorus than seeds from non-mycorrhizal plants, an effect which may improve offspring vigor. Infection by mycorrhizal fungi may thus contribute to the overall fitness of a host plant and strongly influence long-term plant population dynamics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics