, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 161-168

The effect of neighbors on the root system of the desert annualEremobium aegyptiacum

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Abstract

Intra-specific competition with a primary focus on root competition between plants living in an area with low resource levels, was studied using the natural monotypic population of a desert annual plantEremobium aegyptiacum (Cruciferae). We tested the effect of neighboring distance on shoot and root biomass, and such root parameters as root length, diameter of root neck, number of first order lateral roots and number of lateral roots per unit of main root length. Our results indicate a strong negative relationship between neighboring plant density and such plant parameters as shoot and root biomass, and root neck diameter. The number of first order lateral roots and the number of lateral roots per unit of main root length were negatively related to the distance between neighboring plants. Contrary to predictions, there was no influence of competition on node distribution: neither root overlap nor root avoidance was observed in pairs of adjacent plants.