Heritability of flowering time

Description:  This experiment is designed to study the heritability of flowering time and to examine the role flowering phenology plays in the reproductive fitness of Echinacea. In 2005, Jennifer Ison and Team Echinacea assessed phenology in experimental plot 1 and identified individuals with extreme (i.e. early or late) flowering time (Ison and Wagenius 2014). These extreme individuals served as maternal plants for this experiment; we harvested their achenes, which we then grew into seedlings in the lab. Jennifer collected tissue from the seedlings to identify the pollen donor (i.e. the paternal plant) with microsatellite markers she developed (Ison et al. 2013). In 2006, Jennifer and other team members planted the seedlings (3961 in total) in experimental plot 2. Each year since they began flowering (1 plant flowered in 2009), team members have assessed flowering phenology of the individuals in experimental plot 2.

Experimental plot 2

We identify flowering plants early in the season, before they begin shedding pollen, and assess their flowering status regularly throughout the season until they are done flowering (no more than 3 days between observations). In doing so, we collect data on start and end date of flowering for all individual heads in the plot.

To learn more about the beginnings of this large seedling growth experiment read this description.

Start year:

Location: Hegg Lake WMA; experimental plot 2


These three papers are about the flowering phenology and mating patterns of the parents of the plants in experimental plot 2:

  • Ison, J.L., and S. Wagenius. 2014. Both flowering time and spatial isolation affect reproduction in Echinacea angustifolia. Journal of Ecology 102: 920–929. PDF
  • Ison, J.L., S. Wagenius, D. Reitz., M.V. Ashley. 2014. Mating between Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae) individuals increases with their flowering synchrony and spatial proximity. American Journal of Botany 101: 180-189. PDF
  • Ison, J.L., S. Wagenius, D. Reitz., M.V. Ashley. 2013. Development and evaluation of microsatellite markers for a native prairie perennial, Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae). Applications in Plant Sciences 1: 1300049. PDF

Preliminary analyses and annual reports are available on the flog.

Overlaps with: phenology in experimental plots

Link to flog posts: Read updates about this experiment on our flog (field blog) as written by Team Echinacea.