Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2007, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (4): 652-657.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2007.0084

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ZHANG Shu-Min, YU Fei-Hai, DONG Ming*()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • Received:2006-08-15 Accepted:2007-01-05 Online:2007-08-15 Published:2007-07-30
  • Contact: DONG Ming


Aims Plasticity in biomass allocation of plants under different growing conditions is often assumed to be adaptive. Biomass allocation patterns in clonal plants are usually different from those in non-clonal plants due to clonal architecture and clonal morphology. de Kroon and Schieving (1991) published a model to predict the likely pattern of biomass allocation to spacers (i.e., stolons or rhizomes) as resource supply varies. The model predicted that under moderate resource levels, clonal plants would allocate more biomass to spacers to efficiently utilize resources. The aim of this study is to experimentally test this prediction.
Methods In a greenhouse experiment, Potentilla reptans var. sericophylla plants were subjected to eight levels (i.e., N1 to N8 in decreasing order) of nutrient supply. N1 was equivalent to 600 kg nitrogen as NH4NO3, 240 kg phosphorus as NaH2PO4 and 600 kg K as KCl per ha per year. N2 to N8 were 50%, 25%, 12.5%, 6.25%, 3.13%, 1.57% and 0 of N1, respectively. The experiment started on April 6, 2003 and ended on June 3, 2003.
Important findings Potentilla reptans var. sericophylla had greater biomass, produced more stolons and had longer stolon internodes at moderate levels (i.e., N3 and N4 treatments) of nutrient supply. Biomass allocation to different plant organs (roots, stolons, laminae and petioles) responded greatly to nutrient treatments. With decreasing nutrient supply, biomass allocation to laminae and petioles decreased, whereas that to roots increased. Biomass allocation to stolons tended to be the highest at moderate levels (N3, N4) of nutrient supply and became smaller at both lower and higher nutrient conditions. Patterns of biomass allocation to stolons in P. reptans var. sericophylla under different levels of nutrient supply agree with the model prediction of de Kroon and Schieving (1991), suggesting that allocating more biomass to spacers (i.e., stolons or rhizomes) at moderate nutrient levels enables clonal plants to efficiently utilize resources.

Key words: clonal plants, plasticity, biomass allocation model, biomass allocation to stolons