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Am J Bot. 1999 Oct;86(10):1414-36.

Plant reproductive phenology over four years including an episode of general flowering in a lowland dipterocarp forest,Sarawak, Malaysia.

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  • 1Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Kamitanakami Hirano-cho, Otsu 520-2113;


The first systematic observation of a general flowering, a phenomenon unique to lowland mixed-dipterocarp forests in Southeast Asia, is presented. During general flowering, which occurs at irregular intervals of 3-10 yr, nearly all dipterocarp species together with species of other families come heavily into flower. We monitored reproductive phenology of 576 individual plants representing 305 species in 56 families in Sarawak, Malaysia. Observations continued for 53 mo from August 1992 and covered one episode of a general flowering cycle. Among 527 effective reproductive events during 43 mo, 57% were concentrated in the general flowering period (GFP) of 10 mo in 1996. We classified 257 species into flowering types based on timing and frequency of flowering. The most abundant type was "general flowering" (35%), which flowered only during GFP. The others were "supra-annual" (19%), "annual" (13%), and "sub-annual" (5%) types. General flowering type and temporal aggregation in reproductive events were commonly found among species in various categories of taxonomic groups, life forms, pollination systems, and fruit types. Possible causes for general flowering, such as promotion of pollination brought about by interspecific synchronization and paucity of climatic cues suitable for flowering trigger, are proposed, in addition to the predator satiation hypothesis of Janzen (1974).

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