Angiosperm diversification has been associated with plant-animal interactions such as seed dispersal and pollination and life-history characters such as rapid growth and fast reproduction. This paper relates a life-history character (age at maturity) to woody angiosperm diversification. Here I present a comparative analysis of data drawn from the literature, indicating that time to first reproduction is shorter in woody angiosperms than in gymnosperms. In addition, age at maturity is negatively correlated with the rate of diversification (measured as the number of species per genus) at all the taxonomic levels analyzed and also when phylogenetically independent contrasts were conducted. This correlation suggests that early reproduction promotes diversification in woody angiosperms. Furthermore, this correlation is not a confounding effect of the association between age at maturity and other ecological factors that promote angiosperm diversification, such as pollination and seed dispersal systems.
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Vol. 56 • No. 7