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In this study, we examine the plastic response of floral sex allocation within racemes to experimentally reduced resource availability in .Previous work on this plant showed significant intrainflorescence variation of floral sex allocation, with greater anther number and male-biased allocation in more distal flowers within racemes (Zhao 2008b).

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Studies of gynodioecious plants have found that hermaphrodite individuals have plastic sex allocation, which may facilitate the establishment of female individuals in hermaphroditic populations (Delph 1990, 2003; Dorken and Mitchard 2008).

Plastic sex allocation in response to variable resources represents a flexible allocation strategy for coping with environmental heterogeneity, and can evolve by natural selection given genetic variation for plasticity (Lloyd and Bawa 1984; Zhang 2006).

Specifically, we test the theoretical prediction that flowers within inflorescences should become more male in response to reduced resource availability, and whether plasticity is position-dependent. (Ranunculaceae) is an annual herb, widely distributed in alpine meadows (1600–3800 m) in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China.

Individual plants generally produce one erect raceme consisting of 2–30 blue-purple zygomorphic flowers, which open sequentially from bottom to top.

Plants commonly bloom from June through August and single flowers last 6–10 days. Seeds were collected in 2007 from a natural population of at the Research Station of Alpine Meadows and Wetland Ecosystems of Lanzhou University (Hezuo County, E102°53′, N34°55′).

We grew 40 plants from these seeds and randomly selected eight to be sires.

The species is self-compatible, strongly protandrous like other related species in the same genus, and bumblebee-pollinated.

The anthers dehisce over 4–5 days and stigmas become receptive 1–2 days later.

In particular, it is unknown whether distal flowers in linear inflorescences show a larger shift to male allocation relative to basal flowers when resources are reduced.

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