Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
First Advisor's Name
Dr. Jennifer H. Richards
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Dr. Kenneth Feeley
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega
Third Advisor's Committee Title
Fourth Advisor's Name
Dr. Michael Ross
Fourth Advisor's Committee Title
Fifth Advisor's Name
Dr. Scott Zona
Fifth Advisor's Committee Title
Arecaceae, palms, botany, morphology, architecture, clonal growth
Date of Defense
Palms provide valuable commercial resources in the tropics and are dominant species in tropical lowland forests. While general biology of palms is well studied, there are gaps in the literature on palm growth through life stages and in response to environmental conditions. Literature gaps on palm growth could be caused by the slow growth of palms; it is difficult to monitor morphology and architecture for the periods of time necessary to capture changes. Acoelorrhaphe wrightii is a threatened palm native to southern Florida with an unusual adult architecture. The purpose of this dissertation was to study growth A. wrightii throughout its life stages and in response to changes in environmental conditions. In order to do study growth, I first had to understand the evolutionary history and types of vegetative branching in palms to identify vegetative branching possibilities in A. wrightii. I described branching types for 1903 species from all 181 genera using literature reviews and hands-on analysis. I then studied adult morphology and architecture in a common garden setting by monitoring leaf morphology, ramet growth and architecture of A. wrightii in two gardens in Miami, FL, over a two year period. I tested the effects of water and light on germination and growth of juvenile plants in a mesocosm where water and light were manipulated, following growth for a year. Finally, I compared leaf morphology and architecture of adult individuals in four populations in Belize and Florida. I found five branching types were present in the palms: lateral axillary branching, shoot apical division, false vivipary, abaxial branching and leaf-opposed branching. In the garden, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii displayed two types of lateral axillary branching: basal suckering and rhizomatous branching. The two branching types produced tiers in adult clones, which were used to model architecture. Ramets had an establishment period and growth varied seasonally in establishing and established phases. Low water levels and full sun yielded greater germination of A. wrighti and produced juveniles with a greater number of leaves, more root mass and more branches. Variability between populations and environmental conditions was observed in adult individuals in the field but differences were minimal.
Edelman, Sara M., "Morphology, Architecture and Growth of a Clonal Palm, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii" (2017). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3201.
In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).