Clonal reproduction (also known as vegetative reproduction, clonal growth and vegetative multiplication) results in the formation of new individuals that are genetically identical to the parent plant and capable of physiologically independent growth (ram-ets). This differs from the production of branches or leaves which do not usually persist independently. A genet is the entire genetic individual and is composed of ram-ets (Fig. 5.3).
Clonality is a highly successful plant strategy and has evolved independently many times in individuals of species that are not otherwise similar or closely related, i.e. it is a 'polyphyletic' trait. Clonal plants have a global distribution. About 28% of dicotyledons have some sort of clonal reproduction (Leakey, 1981), and about 40% of these are predominantly clonal. In North America,
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