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Although herbivory may result in plant death, the mode and timing of damage may produce variable wounding responses in the attacked plant. In this study, effects of different types of apical meristem damage on growth and performance of sea oxeye daisy Borrichia frutescens (L.) DC were compared. Damage involved either clipping or galling of the apical meristem by the gall midge Asphondylia borrichiae Rossi and Strong. Apical dominance was relatively weak before flowering and stronger in short ramets that were shaded by taller neighbors later in the season. Clipped ramets delayed sprouting new stems, and galled ramets sprouted new stems quickly compared to intact ramets, but final stem counts were similar across treatments. Clipping significantly delayed flowering, reduced seed head ripening time, and resulted in fewer seed heads and seeds. Galling did not significantly impact reproduction compared to intact ramets. Nitrogen supplementation significantly increased stem count and seed count and lengthened seed ripening time. Borrichia frutescens responds differently to clipping versus galling by A. borrichiae and better tolerates galling in terms of nonreproductive performance and survival. Galling from A. borrichiae likely prevents Borrichia frutescens from flowering, which suggests resource regulation of meristems by the midge.


Originally published in the Journal of Botany, Volume 2015

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