Annals of Botany

Diversity, mutation and fire strategies in Grevillea

A flower of Leucospermum, a group of species in the Proteaceae
A flower of a Leucospermum species, a genus in the Proteaceae (edit: replaces an incorrect Grevillea photograph)

Grevillea rhizomatosa is a spreading shrub that exhibits multiple breeding strategies including self-compatibility, self-incompatibility and clonality (with and without sterility).Gross et al. compare genetic diversity among populations and find that somatic mutations contribute significantly to gene diversity in sterile populations, the accumulation of which is the likely cause of male and female sterility. They conclude that high levels of genetic diversity may therefore not always be synonymous with sexual fitness and genetic health, and hypothesize that frequent fires drive selection for clonal reproduction.


  1. Many thanks for the correction, Selina. I don’t have a Grevillea photograph so replaced it with, at least, another Proteaceae (taken in Albany, WA, 21 September).

    Thanks also for the link to the NSW Threatened Plant Database, “In New South Wales, 1080 native species, populations and ecological communities are listed as threatened with extinction. This website shows you what they look like, where and how they live, why they’re threatened, and what we can do to help bring them back from the brink of extinction.

    Species, populations and ecological communities
    Detailed profiles on each threatened species, population and ecological community in NSW.
    Information on what’s living in a particular type of habitat or region of NSW.”

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