Oecologia

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 138–144 | Cite as

Mineral allocation to reproduction in Sorhum bicolor and Sorghum halepense in relation to parental nutrient supply

  • R. L. Benech Arnold
  • M. Fenner
  • P. J. Edwards
Original Papers

Summary

This experiment investigated the effect of parental nutrient shortage on the allocation of five nutrients to seeds and rhizomes in Sorghum halepense, a perennial, noxious weed, and to seeds in Sorghum bicolor, an annual, cultivated species. Plants from both species were grown from seeds and supplied with fertilizer at three concentrations. The allocation of biomass and nutrients (N, P, K, Ca and Mg) to reproductive and vegetative parts was determined. Relative biomass allocation to reproduction (either sexual or vegetative) remained constant in S. halepense in spite of large differences in total plant weight. In S. bicolor, however, biomass allocation to sexual reproductive structures decreased significantly with decreasing nutrient supply. Individual seed weight was not modified by parental nutrient supply in S. halepense, but it increased with decreasing nutrient availability in S. bicolor. Important differences in mineral allocation to seeds were found between the two species. While S. bicolor seeds were largely buffered from the differences in parental nutrient status, concentration of nutrients in S. halepense seeds decreased significantly with decreasing supply for all the nutrients analyzed except Ca. However, mineral nutrient concentration in S. halepense rhizomes remained remarkably constant despite differences in the external supply, evincing the priority given to vegetative reproduction at the expense of sexual reproduction. Overall, the pattern of nutrient allocation in S. bicolor seeds under different nutrient supply resembled the pattern observed in S. halepense rhizomes, but it had little resemblance to the pattern of nutrient allocation in S. halepense seeds. The results are discussed in terms of differences and similarities in the reproductive strategy of these two species.

Key words

Sorghum halepense Sorghum bicolor Mineral allocation Reproduction 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Benech Arnold
    • 1
  • M. Fenner
    • 1
  • P. J. Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Departamento de Producción Vegetal, Facultad de Agronomía (UBA)Cátedra de CerealiculturaBuenos AiresArgentina

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