Asclepias syriaca

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  • Milkweed Hypothesis

    more time to produce pods, or have a more extensive root system to acquire nutrients necessary for pod production. Some of the variability in pod numbers observed for may be because milkweeds produce stems periodically thorough the growing season, so during the summer, different stems may be in different life stages. Milkweed also grows from underground rhizomes, which may produce clones of the parent plant nearby (“Milkweed Fact Sheet”, n.d.). Because of this, with the hula-hoop method we used, the samples were likely not independent. Another source of variation may be due to a trade-off between the size of the seeds in the different sized seedpods and the dispersal ability. Morse and Schmitt (1985) found that in the common milkweed Asclepias syriaca, there was a negative correlation between seed size and dispersal ability, with smaller seeds dispersing further, and larger seeds having more success in germination. They found a large diversity in the morphology of the seeds among clones and the pods within clones, so seed, and perhaps pod size, is not genetically determined by a clear mechanism. This would make a trade-off between growth and reproductive resource allotment difficult to detect. There is no statistically significant relationship between the height of the milkweed and its duration latex flow in our study. This contrasts with results obtained by Züst, Rasmann, and Agrawal (2015), which found a positive relationship between plant growth and latex production,…

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