Seed predators have the potential to act as agents of natural selection
that influence seed traits. Accordingly, plants deploy a variety of
mechanisms (e.g. resistance and tolerance strategy) to lessen the impact
of predation on seed crop or on an individual seed. In this study, we
found a novel mechanism (i.e. cloning strategy) in a tropical plant
species in countering animal predation. We found both rodent damaged and
human artificially damaged seed fragments of a large-seeded tree
Garcinia xanthochymus in the Xishuangbanna tropical forest of China
could develop into seedlings in both field and laboratory conditions. G.
xanthochymus seed has no endosperm in seeds, and its seed tissue own
strong capacity of differentiation and cloning. Seed damage would
negatively affect seedling growth and germination, but the seed
germination rate was remarkably high. Our study suggests that, as a
novel strategy countering animal predation, seed cloning would play a
significant role in stabilizing the mutualism between plant and animals.