Sexual reproduction of red maple (Acer rubrum) in northern lower Michigan

TitleSexual reproduction of red maple (Acer rubrum) in northern lower Michigan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsSakai AK
JournalThe American Midlands Naturalist

Sexual reproduction of red maple (Acer rubrum L.) was studied on nine sites in northern lower Michigan. The relative importance of vegetative and sexual reproduction depends upon both soil conditions and time since last disturbance. In xeric sites, sexual reproduction is limited not by the density of seed-bearing trees, but by low seed production of female and bisexual trees and especially by low seedling survival. In more mesic sites, sexual reproduction is more important; more seeds are produced and remain in the seed bank, and seedling and sapling survival is greater. Large numbers of seeds and new seedlings are produced in an old-growth forest, but seedlings cannot survive the understory conditions. These detailed observations of seed production and seedling population dynamics support more general observations in xeric sites of recruitment after disturbance through stump-sprouting, and in mesic-wet sites of initial recruitment after disturbance through stump-sprouting followed by sexual reproduction.