In plant communities of the Mediterranean Basin most plant species reach their blooming peak in spring and have characteristically short flowering periods of two-three months. The perennial herb Lobularia maritima represents an exception to these characteristics, because it flowers for almost 10 months, and has its flowering peak in autumn. In this five-year study, we describe the flowering pattern of L. maritima at the population and community levels. Despite the unusually extended flowering period of L. maritima, the species showed characteristic low among-year variability in the length of the flowering period but large interannual variation in the distribution of flowers throughout the flowering period. The flowering pattern (unimodal or bimodal) of L. maritima individuals differed among the five years, suggesting that L. maritima plants are plastic enough to tailor their flowering to variable environmental conditions. We conclude that flowering phenology of L. maritima represents a very particular case in the plant community studied, and the influence of abiotic and biotic factors on the phenology of this species is discussed. © 2001 Éditions scientifiques et médicales Elsevier SAS.
- Extended flowering
- Mediterranean climate