Parasenecio yatabei (Asteraceae), a summer-green perennial herb, is widely distributed on sloping mountain stream banks in cool-temperate zone forests of Japan. We investigated the growth pattern, leaf longevity and leaf water relations of vegetatively independent plants (ramets) growing in two contrasting soil water conditions, that is, upper and lower stream banks (U ramets and L ramets, respectively). The objective of the present study was to clarify the physiological and morphological responses of the ramets to soil water conditions. Dry matter allocation to subterranean parts was higher in U ramets than in L ramets. The U ramet leaves survived for approximately 2 months longer than L ramet leaves. The ratio of subterranean part to aerial part dry matter was greater in U ramets than L ramets. Leaf mass per leaf area (LMA) tended to be greater in U ramets than L ramets throughout the growing season. The leaf bulk modulus of elasticity at full hydration was significantly higher in U ramets. Thus, ramet growth patterns and morphological traits varied with changing soil water conditions. The greater longevity of U ramet leaves may play a role in compensating for the reduced annual net carbon gain caused by lower photosynthetic activity. U ramets growing in environments with less water availability achieved high water-use efficiency by a high passive water absorption capacity via a progressed root system and high productivity via longer leaf longevity with higher LMA and elasticity. Therefore, P. yatabei growing along mountain streams could have the ability to colonize the upper bank through higher survivorship based on these traits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science