J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2008, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (8): 1015-1023.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00645.x

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Light on the Growth and Clonal Reproduction of Ligularia virgaurea

Man-Tang Wang, Zhi-Gang Zhao, Guo-Zhen Du, Yan-Long He   

Abstract: Ligularia virgaurea is a perennial herb that is widely distributed in the alpine meadow on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau. We investigated the patterns of growth and reproduction of L. virgaurea under two contrasting levels of light conditions for two continuous growing seasons. Our results showed that the light effects on the maximum relative growth rate, the shoot weight ratio and the root weight ratio differed between the two growing seasons. L. virgaurea reproduced initially through rhizome in the second growing season, rather than sexual reproduction. The proportion of genets with clonal reproduction decreased under shaded conditions. A minimum genet size should be attained for clonal reproduction to begin under the shaded conditions. There was a positive linear relationship between clonal reproduction and genet size. Light level affected the allocation of total biomass to clonal structures, with less allocation under the full natural irradiance than under the shaded conditions. There seemed to be a trade-off between vegetative growth and clonal reproduction under the full natural irradiance, in terms of smaller relative growth rates of genets with clonal reproduction than those without clonal reproduction. L. virgaurea emphasized clonal reproduction under the full natural irradiance, while the plant emphasized vegetative growth under the shaded conditions.

Key words: biomass allocation, clonal reproduction, Ligularia virgaurea, relative growth rate, threshold size

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