Inflated Ovary May Increase the Dispersal Ability of Three Species in the Cold Deserts of Central Asia

Jannathan Mamut, Kewei Chen, Carol C. Baskin, Dunyan Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among the diaspores of angiosperms an inflated ovary (IO) is a novel morphological trait, but no studies have evaluated its effects on dispersal. The primary aim of this study was to determine the effect of the IO on diaspore dispersal in three cold desert species (Carex physodes, Calligonum junceum, and Sphaerophysa salsula). Various morphological features and the mass of fruits and seeds of each species were measured. The role of an IO in diaspore dispersal by wind and water was determined by comparing responses of intact (inflated) IOs and flattened fruits and seeds. Mature diaspores of three species were dispersed by wind, and the IO significantly increased dispersal distance in the field and at different wind speeds in the laboratory. The floating time on water was greater for inflated fruits than flattened fruits and seeds. Since the seed remains inside the IO until after dispersal is completed, the IO of the three species enhances diaspore dispersal. This is the first detailed study on how an IO increases diaspore/seed dispersal. Furthermore, after primary dispersal by wind, secondary dispersal can occur via wind or surface runoff of water, and each method is enhanced by the presence of an IO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1950
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China, grant number 2022D01E49; the National Natural Science Foundation of China, grant number 32071668, 31960053, and the Grant of Innovation Environment Construction of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, grant number PT2224.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • cold desert
  • inflated ovary
  • morphological traits
  • seed dispersal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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