, Volume 100, Issue 1-2, pp 94-97

Factors affecting the initiation and growth of aboveground adventitious roots in a tropical cloud forest tree: an experimental approach

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Some of the proximate factors that would induce aboveground stems to produce adventitious roots were investigated experimentally on Senecio cooperi, a tropical cloud forest tree. Stem segments were air-layered with different treatments to promote root formation, and the number of roots initiated and rates of root growth were monitored for 20 weeks. Treatments were the application of wet epiphytes or dry epiphytes plus associated humus, sponges wetted with either water or nutrient solutions, or dry sponges. Controls (stem segments with nothing applied) were also monitored. Numbers of adventitious roots formed and rates of subsequent root growth differed among treatments. Wet epiphyte/humus and nutrient solutions were most effective in producing roots, which suggests that epiphytes and the nutrients they intercept and retain within the canopy may cue adjacent host tissue to exploit this resource.