Damage measurements and reproductive outcomes following phenologic delay and floral freezing of a population of Prunus pumila plants

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Damage measurements and reproductive outcomes following phenologic delay and floral freezing of a population of Prunus pumila plants

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Savage, Jessica


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There are advantages flowering early in the spring, which include greater pollinator fidelity and longer fruit maturation time. But plant phenology has advanced in recent years making many plants vulnerable to freezing damage from late frosts. To determine the costs and benefits of flowering early in the spring, we exposed Prunus pumila plants to two freezing treatments and a delayed flowering treatment in subsequent years. Data were collected on ovary swelling, fruit production and pollinator visitation on hand-and open-pollinated plants in all treatments. We also measured tissue damage after freeze events. Our results suggest that flowering time and temperature affect reproductive success, with fewer fruits produced after hard freezes. The same was not true for light freezes, which had minimal impact on reproduction. Freezing damage to plants after a hard freeze did affect the number of Dipteran pollinators but not the overall pollinator visitation rate. Despite the clear impact of freezing temperatures on plant reproduction, there were also advantages for flowering early as reproductive output decreased during with delayed flowering. Our findings suggest that Prunus pumila will retain the ability to attract pollinators and produce viable seeds if exposed to false spring conditions that involve a light freeze, but hard freezes may reduce yield by an order of magnitude. Although the advantages to flowering early may outweigh the risk of freezing damage under current conditions, it is possible that flower viability may be constrained under continued climate warming.


These files contain information gathered during and after a delayed phenology experiment in 2020 and a floral freezing experiment in 2021 using the same population of Prunus pumila plants. Data was collected on number of flowers, ovaries that swelled, mature fruits that developed, and seeds that germinated for each plant, as well as hand pollination and selfing results, pollinator visitation, floral and whole plant damage, and temperature conditions during flowering.

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Lake Diver, D. A., and Savage, J. A. (Accepted) Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Flowering Early for the Woody Perennial Prunus pumila. American Journal of Botany.

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National Science Foundation (Savage, IOS 1656318)
University of Minnesota Diversity of Views Fellowship (Lake Diver)
University of Minnesota Integrated Biosciences graduate program (Lake Diver)
University of Minnesota grant-in-aid program, provided by the office of Vice President of Research (Savage)




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Lake Diver, Danielle A; Savage, Jessica A. (2024). Damage measurements and reproductive outcomes following phenologic delay and floral freezing of a population of Prunus pumila plants. Retrieved from the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota (DRUM), https://doi.org/10.13020/bx1n-xf61.
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File View/OpenDescriptionSize
pollinator_visit_rate_2021.csv6.13 KB
HP_2021_notest.csv5.52 KB
HP_2020_notest.csv5.55 KB
flower_damage_2021.csv20.7 KB
daily_temps_2021.csv422 B
daily_temps_2020.csv1.06 KB
counts_2021.csv.csv21.53 KB
germination_2021.csv1.75 KB
pollinator_ratios_2021.csv5.24 KB
readme.LakeDiver.txt28.42 KB
OP_2020.csv5.91 KB
Readme_LakeDiver_2024.txtDescription of the data30.48 KB

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