Mineral nutrient concentrations as a function of seed size within seed crops

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The intra-crop variation in the concentrations of major nutrients in the embryo-cum-endosperm (EE) fraction of seeds of 12 tree species of SE Asian lowland rain forest was investigated. Increased seed size was associated with a significant decrease in the EE concentration of N in 10 species, P and K in seven, Mg in six, and Ca in four. In contrast, the EE nutrient content increased with seed size, typically by about 1.6-fold where seed mass was 2-fold greater. In three species the allocation to protective tissues decreased with increased seed size. The results are potentially relevant to competition among young seedlings, optimal foraging by predators, allocation to defence by plants, and understanding the controls on filling of seeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998


  • defence
  • mineral nutrients
  • seeds
  • SE Asia
  • tropical lowland rain forest
  • growth
  • weight


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