High variation in clonal vs. sexual reproduction in populations of the wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana (Rosaceae)

John A. Wilk, Andrea T. Kramer, Mary V. Ashley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background and AimsMany plants reproduce both clonally and sexually, and the balance between the two modes of reproduction will vary among populations. Clonal reproduction was characterized in three populations of the wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana, to determine the extent that reproductive mode varied locally between sites. The study sites were fragmented woodlands in Cook County, Illinois, USA.MethodsA total of 95 strawberry ramets were sampled from the three sites via transects. Ramets were mapped and genotyped at five variable microsatellite loci. The variability at these five loci was sufficient to assign plants to clones with high confidence, and the spatial pattern of genets was mapped at each site.Key ResultsA total of 27 distinct multilocus genotypes were identified. Of these, 18 genotypes were detected only once, with the remaining nine detected in multiple ramets. The largest clone was identified in 16 ramets. No genets were shared between sites, and each site exhibited markedly different clonal and sexual recruitment patterns, ranging from two non-overlapping and widespread genets to 19 distinct genets. Only one flowering genet was female; the remainder were hermaphrodites.ConclusionsLocal population history or fine-scale ecological differences can result in dramatically different reproductive patterns at small spatial scales. This finding may be fairly widespread among clonal plant species, and studies that aim to characterize reproductive modes in species capable of asexual reproduction need to evaluate reproductive modes in multiple populations and sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1419
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of botany
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Clonal structure
  • Fragaria virginiana
  • Gynodioecy
  • Microsatellites
  • Population genetic structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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