Viola blanda is a common forest understory plant that produces new individuals both sexually and vegetatively, via stolons. The goal of this research was to evaluate the relative importance of plant size on sexual reproduction and clonal expansion in five different populations. Plant size was estimated using leaf number and leaf size. Number of fruit capsules and number of stolons were employed as sexual and clonal fitness measures, respectively. Phenotypic selection on leaf number and leaf size was found to differ in both magnitude and direction on several levels: 1) within fitness measures, among populations, and 2) within populations, between sexual and clonal fitness. There is some suggestion that different growth strategies are being utilized in different populations. The interaction between leaf traits and population (site) were significant for two of the five populations in relation to sexual fitness and four out of five populations relative to clonal fitness. The five populations are known to differ in their distribution of light, soil type and understory density. Selection differences on leaf number and leaf size may be in response to local environmental conditions. No clear tradeoffs were found between sexual reproduction and clonal expansion. However, within some populations, selection on a given leaf characteristic was found to be in opposite directions when assessing sexual vs. clonal fitness.

Key words: clonal growth, selection, sexual reproduction, tradeoffs, Viola blanda