Morphology and growth of stolons and rhizomes in three clonal grasses, as affected by different light supply
In this paper, the hypothesis is tested that, in clonal grasses producing stolons and/or rhizomes, stolons always show a higher morphological plasticity than rhizomes in response to variation in light availability.Agrostis stolonifera (a stoloniferous grass),Holcus mollis (a rhizomatous grass) andCynodon dactylon (a grass forming both stolons and rhizomes), were grown in pots and subjected to three levels of light intensities. Both stolons and rhizomes branched more intensively under higher light levels. Irrespective of species, stolons consisted of longer internodes under lower light levels, while rhizome morphology did not respond significantly. Biomass partitioning to rhizomes was lower under lower light intensities while partitioning to stolons was not affected. Rhizomes usually had more dormant buds than did stolons. Our results suggest that stolons serve primarily as foraging organs for light, whereas the main function of rhizomes is storage of meristem and carbohydrates, irrespective of whether the grass species involved produces both rhizomes and stolons or only one type of spacer.