, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 469-480
Date: 15 Mar 2013

Light and soil moisture effects on biomass and its allocation in Osmorhiza depauperata Philippi (Apiaceae)

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Abstract

Changes in forest openings affect light quality and quantity, and the magnitude of rainfall that reaches the soil surface. Osmorhiza depauperata, a geophyte, acclimates to changes imposed because of forest openings. We studied which changes in biomass allocation allow acclimation of O. depauperata to the various environments that this species inhabits, and where it develops better. Three light intensities (I4 = 4 %, I26 = 26 %, I64 = 64 % of ambient sunlight) and two moisture levels (M40 = 40–60 %, M80 = 80–100 % field capacity) were evaluated on O. depauperata under greenhouse conditions. Plant biomasses per pot were 0.81, 0.56 and 0.48 g at I26, I4 and I64 light intensities, respectively, after one growing season. The biomass allocation to aboveground tissues and leaf area decreased as light intensity increased. Soil moisture modified only belowground biomass and weight of fine roots. The interaction between soil moisture content and light intensity was consistent. This was because of a significant reduction in total plant biomass under high both soil moisture content and high light intensity. Osmorhiza depauperata growth was favored most at medium light intensities. Changes in biomass allocation among various organs allow this species to inhabit forest habitats with different light intensities.