Mixed reproduction systems in Opuntia monacantha (Cactaceae) in Southern Brazil.
The Cactaceae have morphological and physiological adaptations associated with their life histories that are reflected in different modes of reproduction and multiplication. The reproductive phenology, preferential reproductive mode, and the sexual and asexual multiplication of Opuntia monacantha were investigated between 2003 and 2006 in two restinga (sandy coastal) environment in Southern Brazil to determine the adaptive values of its reproduction modes. Flowering was annual and occurred continuous for approximately 100 days between the months of September and January, with a few flowers opening per day per individual (but many in the whole population). Facultative xenogamy was identified as the preferential sexual system, with the highest levels of fruit and seed formation following natural pollination. The seeds are recalcitrant and have high germinative capacities under laboratory conditions. Seedling recruitment and establishment in the field was extremely reduced. The skins of the fruits and the cladodes have high capacities for regeneration and clonal multiplication because of their areolas.