Ephemeral clonal integration in Calathea marantifolia (Marantaceae): Evidence of diminished integration over time

David P. Matlaga, Leonel Da S.L. Sternberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A major advantage of clonal growth forms is the intergenerational transfer of resources through vascular connections (clonal integration). Connections linking ramets can be persistent or ephemeral. For species with ephemeral connections, whether the extent of clonal integration changes over time is unclear. To address this issue, we tracked water movement using an isotopic label and assessed the demographic performance of parent and offspring ramets over time in a severing experiment. Our study system was the understory herb Calathea marantifolia, which has parent ramets that produce vegetative bulbils (clonal offspring) that pass through distinct pre- and post-rooting stages. Little water was transported between parents and offspring, and the direction of movement was primarily from parent to pre-rooting offspring. Anatomical observations of inter-ramet connections showed that vascular bundles were twice as abundant in parent stems compared to inter-ramet connections. Severing inter-ramet connections reduced the growth of offspring ramets but not parents. Survival of pre-rooting offspring was reduced by 10% due to severing, but post-rooting offspring were not affected. Our results suggest that offspring ramets of C. marantifolia are weaned from their parent as they progress from pre- to post-rooting stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Bulbil
  • Calathea marantifolia
  • Clonal integration
  • Clonal phenology
  • Deuterium labeling
  • Marantaceae
  • Physiological integration
  • Stable isotopes
  • Water transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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