Quercus seedlings have hypogeal cotyledons and tap roots, both of which act as storage organs. The importance of the storage function in the two organs may change as the seedling develops. Therefore, changes in carbohydrate reserves in cotyledons and roots of Q. crispula grown under 40 % and 3 % of full light from shoot emergence to the completion of the first leaf flush were monitored. In addition, a shoot-clipping treatment was performed to examine the relative contribution of the cotyledons and tap roots to resprouting. Cotyledons maintained large amounts of nonstructural carbohydrates during shoot development, and carbohydrates were still present in the cotyledons during the final phase of leaf flush. In addition, a notable increase in the amount of carbohydrates was observed in tap roots before leaf flush at both light levels. Since root development occurred before leaf flush, even in plants grown under 3 % light, the carbohydrate found in them presumably originated from seed reserves and was translocated to roots as storage reserves. When shoots were clipped at the leaf flushing stage, the amount of carbohydrate decreased only in the cotyledons after resprouting, suggesting that cotyledons act as the main storage organs during shoot development stages. However, it could be advantageous as a 'risk avoidance strategy' for the seedlings to store reserves in both cotyledons and roots, since cotyledons may be removed by predators during shoot development.
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