Numerous Mediterranean geophytes are hysteranthous, i.e. they flower in a leafless stage during autumn. On the basis of their life cycles and other features two types can be recognized: In the Crocus type flowers with subterranean ovary develop at the start of the new reproductive cycle from an annual storage organ; seed dispersal and germination are delayed to the spring and the next autumn. In the Urginea type, flowers with supraterranean ovary originate from a perennial storage organ at the end of the life cycle; seed dispersal and germination follow flowering immediately. Similar rhythms exist in other seasonal climates. Field observations and some experiments demonstrate flower stimulation by temperature decrease or increase in different geophytes, and relationships between water supply and synanthous versus hysteranthous leaf development. The origin, ecological importance, and horticultural implication of the hysteranthous syndrome is discussed.
- flowering rhythms
- hysteranthous foliage
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science