Large size and high light do not lower the cost of reproduction for the neotropical herb Goeppertia marantifolia

David P. Matlaga, Carol C. Horvitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


• Premise of the study: Sexual reproduction is often associated with a cost in terms of reduced survival, growth, or future reproduction. It has been proposed that plant size and the environment (availability of key resources) can sometimes lower or even nullify the cost of reproduction. • Methods: We address this issue experimentally with the Neotropical herb Goeppertia marantifolia, by manipulating sexual reproductive effort and measuring the demographic performance of plants and of their clonal offspring, in the context of natural variation in light availability. • Key results: Plants in the high-reproductive-effort treatment grew less between seasons but did not differ in their probability of flowering the second season or in inflorescence size compared with plants in the low-effort treatment. Reproductive effort of parent plants influenced the leaf area of their clonal offspring. Plants that invested less in sexual reproduction produced clonal offspring that were initially larger than those produced by plants that invested more in reproduction. The magnitude of this effect was greater in parent plants that received two seasons of the manipulated reproductive effort than in those that received a single season. The trade-off between reproductive modes dampened with time, leading to smaller differences in clonal offspring leaf area between treatments over time. • Conclusions: We found evidence of a cost of reproduction and trade-offs between reproductive modes, although the magnitude of these costs was small. However, we found no evidence of lower costs of reproduction for larger plants or for plants in higherlight environments over our 2-yr study period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015


  • Calathea marantifolia
  • Clonal reproduction
  • Cost of reproduction
  • Demographic trade-offs
  • Light availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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