Reproductive biology of Butia capitata (Martius) Beccari var. odorata in coastal sandy shrub vegetation in Laguna, SC.
Reproduction was studied in a population of the palm Butia capitata, which can reach 3-5 m in height, in an area known locally as "restinga", which consists of coastal sandy shrub-like vegetation, located at Laguna, Santa Catarina, Brazil. A total of 215 plants were registered in a sampling area of 2500 m2. The average height of the palms was 86.39 cm. Plants with heights of 20 cm or less did not exhibit reproductive traits. The percentage of reproductive plants increased in the larger sized classes. However, not all the plants in the reproductive phase flowered in subsequent years. Height, number of leaves, height and length of leaf blades, and numbers of leaves and inflorescences were positively correlated. Flowering occurred during the spring and summer, with a peak in November and December. B. capitata showed a protandric pattern of reproduction. The duration of the male phase per inflorescence was 7.95 days and of the female phase 3.95 days. An interval of 2.45 days was observed between these phases. The simultaneous occurrence of inflorescences in the male and female phases in the same palm was rare, favouring xenogamic pollination. Fruit maturation occurred from November to May, with a peak in February (summer). B. capitata produced 1 to 6 inflorescences/plant. The supply of fruit over 7 months, the high plant density and the high proportion of reproductive plants in the population characterize B. capitata as a food resource for frugivorous animals and human populations in the coastal zones.