Geographical parthenogenesis in a tropical forest tree
As evidenced by embryological studies, certain tropical tree species can reproduce asexually via seed; however, it has generally been assumed that such apomictic reproduction is facultative. Here I report the existence of a population of the lowland Malaysian rain forest tree Garcinia scortechinii King that consists entirely of pistillate individuals (40 female trees and no male trees recorded within a 25‐ha area). This constitutes the first documented observation of a geographically segregated, obligately asexual population among wild tropical trees. Six additional Garcinia species showed a trend toward female bias relative to other dioecious tree species studied, an observation that is consistent with facultative apomixis. The more surprising result for G. scortechinii runs counter to the generalization that obligate apomicts occur only in environments in which the absence of competitors might enable persistence of taxa that lack genetic recombination through mixis.