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Species-specific responses of growth and biomass distribution to trellis availability in three temperate lianas

Wyka, Tomasz P., Zadworny, Marcin, Mucha, Joanna, ┼╗ytkowiak, Roma, Nowak, Kinga, Oleksyn, Jacek
Trees 2019 v.33 no.3 pp. 921-932
Celastrus orbiculatus, Hedera helix, Wisteria floribunda, dry matter partitioning, leaf area, leaf mass, lianas, light intensity, nitrogen, phytomass, roots, stems
KEY MESSAGE: In some lianas the use of trellis modifies within-plant biomass allocation and stimulates growth, however in other species trellis use may negatively affect growth indicating a cost associated with climbing. In order to improve access to light, lianas use other plants as climbing trellises. Whereas in shaded lianas climbing a trellis may enhance biomass gain by increasing leaf-level irradiance, we suspected that trellis use may also stimulate growth by triggering modifications in whole-plant allocation of biomass and nitrogen. We evaluated responses to trellis in three temperate lianas: Hedera helix, Celastrus orbiculatus and Wisteria floribunda. Lianas were grown outdoors in 120-L barrels and with ample space, with and without trellises. Biomass and nitrogen accumulation, distribution patterns and total stem length were determined after three and four seasons. Responses were adjusted for individual plant biomass. Liana responses to trellises were species-specific. In W. floribunda trellis use enhanced growth, consistently with the increased leaf mass fraction and leaf area ratio while biomass distribution to roots was reduced. Biomass distribution to stems and total stem length were increased by trellis use. In contrast, growth and biomass distribution in C. orbiculatus were not altered by trellis use. In H. helix growth was reduced in plants climbing on trellises in comparison with plants creeping on the ground, but biomass distribution pattern was not altered. Moreover, supported H. helix plants accumulated less nitrogen than did unsupported plants, suggesting a less efficient uptake of this nutrient. The ability to plastically modify growth and allocation patterns in response to trellis found in some lianas may constitute an important aspect of their ecological strategy. In other species, however, the switch to climbing may incur physiological costs resulting in lower growth.