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Non-Structural Carbohydrates and Nitrogen Dynamics in Mediterranean Sub-Shrubs: an Analysis of the Functional Role of Overwintering Leaves

AuthorsPalacio, Sara ; Millard, P.; Maestro Martínez, Melchor ; Montserrat-Martí, Gabriel
KeywordsResource storage
Leaf senescence
Seasonal growth
Leaf phenology
Seasonal dimorphism
Cushion plant
Winter deciduous
Issue DateJan-2007
CitationPlant Biology 9(1): 49-58 (2007)
AbstractPrevious studies have led to contrasting results about the role of overwintering leaves as storage sites, which is related to leaf longevity and life-form. The aim of this study was to evaluate the functional role of the leaves of four species of Mediterranean sub-shrubs, with different leaf phenology, as sources of nitrogen (N) and non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) for shoot growth. The seasonal dynamics of the concentrations and pools of N and NSC were assessed monthly in the leaves and woody organs of each species. Overwintering and spring leaves served as N and NSC sources for shoot growth in the evergreen species analyzed, providing up to 73 % and 324 % of the N demand for spring and autumn growth, respectively. Excess autumn N was stored in woody structures which contributed to the N and NSC requirements of spring growth. In the winter deciduous species, woody organs were the main N source for spring growth, while current photosynthesis from immature brachyblasts seemed to be the main carbon (C) source. Due to their short lifespan, overwintering and spring leaves did not show several translocation processes throughout their life time, their contribution to new growth being made during senescence. The successive exchange of leaf cohorts displayed by Mediterranean sub-shrubs might serve as a mechanism to recycle N and C between consecutive cohorts as plants perform the pheno-morphological changes needed to adapt their morphology to the seasonality of their environment.
Description10 páginas, 5 figuras, 1 tabla.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-924224
Appears in Collections:(IPE) Artículos
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