MORPHOLOGICAL AND REPRODUCTIVE TRAIT-VARIABILITY OF A FOOD DECEPTIVE ORCHID, CEPHALANTHERA RUBRA ALONG DIFFERENT ALTITUDES
Applied Ecology and Environmental Research
As climate change is forcing plant species to migrate northward and upward, it is important to know how species' vegetative traits and reproductive success vary along different climatic conditions. We aimed to examine the impact of elevation on the morphological and reproductive characteristics of Cephalanthera rubra in four different altitudes in Hungary: in a lowland oak forest (103 m), and in the beech forests of the Bükk-mountains (361 m, 533 m, 657 m). We counted the number of leaves,
... ber of leaves, flowers, and fruits, and measured the height of each plant with the length and width of all leaves. Linear, negative binomial, and quasipoisson regressions were used to compare the populations. Our study has shown that the lowland and mountain populations of C. rubra are sharply different regarding their life history strategy and reproductive success, and altitudinal effects can be found only in the mountain populations. The number of flowers depends strongly on the vegetative production (height and leaf area) of the plants, but at the same time, the area that facilitates greater vegetative production -possibly because it also facilitates species with better competitiveness, and it is less favorable to its mimicked partners -were less beneficial in terms of fruit production.