The Optimal Growth of Helianthus Annuus

Bruce Hannon

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The history of optimality theory and its application to plant growth is reviewed. The theory is developed for Helianthus Annuus and compared to the actual growth data for this plant, assuming that the objective of the plant is to maximize the amount of its reproductive portion within one growing season. The theory is complicated by the actual logistic form of both the vegetative and reproductive growth phases and by the overlap of these two phases. The fit of theory and data is improved if the plant is further assumed to time discount-to place more emphasis on the success of its seeds produced early than on seeds produced later. This sort of behavior seems especially appropriate when the length of the growing season is uncertain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-531
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 21 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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