Age and sex-specific rates of leaf regeneration in the Mojave Desert moss Syntrichia caninervis

Lloyd R. Stark, Lorenzo Nichols, D. Nicholas McLetchie, Stanley D. Smith, Christopher Zundel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (SciVal)


The extremely skewed female-biased sex ratio in the desert moss Syntrichia caninervis was investigated by assessing the regeneration capacity of detached leaves. Juvenile, green, yellow-green, and brown leaves equating to approximately 0, 2, 6, and 12 yr of age, respectively, were detached from individuals of S. caninervis collected from 10 field populations and grown in a growth chamber for 58 d at a light intensity of 33-128 μmol · m -2 · s-1. Younger leaves (0-2 yr old) tended to have a greater viability, regenerate more quickly, extend their protonemal filaments farther, produce shoots (gametophores) more quickly, produce more shoots, and accumulate a greater biomass than older leaves (6 and 12 yr old). Among younger leaf classes, regenerating female leaves were more likely to produce a shoot than male leaves and produced more shoots than male leaves. The sexes did not differ significantly in time until protonemal emergence, linear extension of protonemata, or rate of biomass accumulation. However, protonemata of male leaves tended to emerge more quickly and produce a greater total biomass, ultimately consisting mostly of protonemata, than did female leaves. The more rapid proliferation of shoots by female leaf regenerants may help to explain the rarity of males in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Bryophyte
  • Desert
  • Leaf age
  • Leaf regeneration
  • Mojave Desert
  • Nevada
  • Sex dimorphism
  • Sex ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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