Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2007, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (4): 625-629.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2007.0080

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WEI Xiao-Hui, YIN Dong-Sheng, ZHU Ning*()   

  1. College of Forestry, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
  • Received:2006-06-22 Accepted:2007-01-05 Online:2007-06-22 Published:2007-07-30
  • Contact: ZHU Ning


Aims Few studies have investigated the clonal growth patterns of shrubs. Physocarpus amurensis is a rhizomatous, endangered shrub with an extremely narrow distribution in Heilongjiang Province of China. Its sexual reproductive capacity is low, and seedling recruitment has rarely been observed under natural conditions. Therefore, clonal growth seems to be important in maintaining populations. Morphological plasticity is important for clonal plants to exploit environmental heterogeneity. This study investigates the clonal architecture and ramet growth dynamics of P. amurensis to provide useful information for protection of this species.
Methods Variations in clonal architecture were studied by field investigation and laboratory analysis: architectural form of rhizomes, configuration characteristics of rhizomes, variations in diameters of rhizomata with increasing rhizome length, and branching angle between rhizomes.
Important findings The architectural form of rhizomes of P. amurensis belongs to the sparse guerrilla linear system. Ramets and rhizomes per clone averaged 6±2 and 9.33±3.48, respectively. The distribution of diameters of rhizomata with increasing rhizome length was parabolic. Branching angle between rhizomes was consistent, usually 30° and 70°. Physocarpus amurensis forms large ramet systems with several interconnected ramets, covering a large area. This may be an adaptation to exploiting different habitats, allowing exploration of open space, which may ensure population survival and evolution.

Key words: clonal plant, Physocarpus amurensis, clonal architecture, clonal ecology