A temporal shift in resource allocation facilitates flowering before leaf out and spring vessel maturation in precocious species

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Abstract

Premise of the Study: New growth in the spring requires resource mobilization in the vascular system at a time when xylem and phloem function are often reduced in seasonally cold climates. As a result, the timing of leaf out and/or flowering could depend on when the vascular system resumes normal function in the spring. This study investigated whether flowering time is influenced by vascular phenology in plants that flower precociously before they have leaves. Methods: Flower, leaf, and vascular phenology were monitored in pairs of precocious and non-precocious congeners. Differences in resource allocation were quantified by measuring bud dry mass and water content throughout the year, floral hydration was modelled, and a girdling treatment completed on branches in the field. Key Results: Precocious flowering species invested more in floral buds the year before flowering than did their non-precocious congeners, thus mobilizing less water in the spring, which allowed flowering before new vessel maturation. Conclusions: A shift in the timing of resource allocation in precocious flowering plants allowed them to flower before the production of mature vessels and minimized the significance of seasonal changes in vascular function to their flowering phenology. The low investment required to complete floral development in the spring when the plant vascular system is often compromised could explain why flowers can emerge before leaf out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Volume106
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Putnam Fellowship in Plant Science (Arnold Arboretum), DaRin Butz Fellowship (Arnold Arboretum), the National Science Foundation (grant number IOS 1656318), and the University of Minnesota?Duluth. The author thanks Sally Gee, Silvia Golumbeanu, Juan Losada, Nicholas Moreno, Kennedy Mosher, and Mona Zayed for their help with data collection, and Missy Holbrook, Dustin Haines, Faye Rosin, Kathryn Richardson and Michael Dosmann for their support. The author thanks Craig Brodersen, Adam Roddy, and an anonymous reviewer for feedback on the manuscript. Material was collected from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and all image analyses were completed at their imaging facility.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Putnam Fellowship in Plant Science (Arnold Arboretum), DaRin Butz Fellowship (Arnold Arboretum), the National Science Foundation (grant number IOS 1656318), and the University of Minnesota–Duluth. The author thanks Sally Gee, Silvia Golumbeanu, Juan Losada, Nicholas Moreno, Kennedy Mosher, and Mona Zayed for their help with data collection, and Missy Holbrook, Dustin Haines, Faye Rosin, Kathryn Richardson and Michael Dosmann for their support. The author thanks Craig Brodersen, Adam Roddy, and an anonymous reviewer for feedback on the manuscript. Material was collected from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and all image analyses were completed at their imaging facility.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Botanical Society of America

Keywords

  • budburst
  • buds
  • carbon transport
  • flower phenology
  • hydraulics
  • leaf phenology
  • preformation
  • sugar transport
  • vascular cambium
  • xylogenesis

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