Jason et al,
>If the "normal" seedling is less vigorous than the apomictic ones--and
>therefore be at a competitive disadvantage to them--why does the plant
>it? Pollination/fertilization costs the plant energy, so why do it just to
>produce a disadvantaged seedling?
Unless I have missed something large indeed (not unlikely), this question is
akin to asking "Why do plants reproduce sexually when they can produce more
vigorous offspring by reproducing vegetatively (asexually)?", being as the
fertilised seedling is a product of sexual reproduction, while the
unfertilised or apomictic seedling is a product of asexual reproduction.
The answer to this question is to do with the Evolution of Species via
Natural Selection. How can a plant improve or change, if it produces
offspring identical to the parents?
Sorry if I am confusing the issue by taking it off at a tangent.
Toby Marsden, Herefordshire, UK.