Age of maturity and life span in herbaceous, polycarpic perennials

Martin H. Bender, Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A review of age of maturity in herbaceous, polycarpic perennials found that the most common year of earliest maturity for wild and cultivated conditions was the second year of life, followed by the first year and then the third year. A comparison of age of maturity in wild and cultivated conditions for individual taxa confirmed the assumption that perennials generally do not mature-sooner in the wild than in cultivation. This validated use of the pattern for maturity in cultivation (second year or later) against which to judge that for maturity in the wild. For plants of the same age of maturity, those with clonal growth had longer life spans than did those with little or no clonal growth. This difference in life span was more pronounced for plants of first- and second-year maturity than it was for those of later maturity. Herbaceous, polycarpic perennials in the wild generally were either short-lived with first-year maturity or long-lived with later maturity. These results were also true for nonclonal taxa only. For application to the real world, theoretical plant-population models must take these results into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-349
Number of pages39
JournalBotanical Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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