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Weed flower dilemma: competitiveness with few costly flowers or ruderality with numerous cheap flowers?
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  • Léa Genty,
  • Elena Kazakou,
  • Aurélie Metay,
  • Mathilde Baude,
  • Antoine Gardarin,
  • Alice Michelot-Antalik,
  • Armel Sotillo,
  • Ambroise Leroy,
  • Juliette Crouzet,
  • Karim Barkaoui
Léa Genty
CIRAD Centre de Montpellier

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Elena Kazakou
Centre d'ecologie fonctionnelle et evolutive
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Aurélie Metay
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Mathilde Baude
Université d'Orléans
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Antoine Gardarin
UMR Agronomie
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Alice Michelot-Antalik
Universite de Lorraine
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Armel Sotillo
CIRAD Centre de Montpellier
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Ambroise Leroy
CIRAD Centre de Montpellier
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Juliette Crouzet
CIRAD Centre de Montpellier
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Karim Barkaoui
CIRAD Centre de Montpellier
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Weed species are ecological models that recently received considerable attention due to their particular strategies linked to their ruderal-competitive traits. They are known to have the potential to provide additional floral resources for insects in flower-poor agroecosystems. However, their floral traits are much more scarcely studied than those of plants found in other habitats, such as grasslands. The aim of this study was to describe the floral phenotype of weeds and to determine to what extent their floral traits match their ecological strategies as described on the basis of leaf traits. We therefore cultivated 19 forb weeds from perennial agroecosystems, previously identified in Mediterranean fields, in a greenhouse for seven months and collected data on 12 floral and 5 leaf traits. We tested whether these traits covaried and whether they exhibited an ecological strategy at the phenotype scale. We found that in matters of flower production, weed species face a trade-off: either numerous small, low-stature flowers with small quantities of pollen and nectar, or few, large, higher-held flowers with more pollen and nectar. The floral traits were found to reflect Grime’s CSR strategies: the weed species producing fewer but costlier flowers belonged to C-strategy species, whereas those producing more but less costly flowers belonged to species dominated by an R strategy These findings indicate that the potential of weeds as floral resources for insects is related to their ecological strategies, which are known to be affected by agricultural practices that filter species composition. This implies that, as for the provision of other ecosystem services, weed communities can be managed so as to select species with interesting floral traits for pollinators.
23 May 2023Submitted to Oikos
23 May 2023Submission Checks Completed
23 May 2023Assigned to Editor
23 May 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
29 May 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major
18 Jul 20231st Revision Received
20 Jul 2023Assigned to Editor
20 Jul 2023Submission Checks Completed
20 Jul 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
24 Jul 20232nd Revision Received
25 Jul 2023Submission Checks Completed
25 Jul 2023Assigned to Editor
25 Jul 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Accept