Oecologia

, Volume 102, Issue 3, pp 305–311

Interspecies differences in the preference of ammonium and nitrate in vascular plants

  • Ursula Falkengren-Grerup
Original Paper

Abstract

Three solution experiments were performed to test the importance of NH4+versus NO3-+NH4+to growth of 23 wild-forest and open-land species, using field-relevant soil solution concentrations at pH 4.5. At N concentrations of 1–200 μM growth increased with increasing N supply in Carex pilulifera, Deschampsia flexuosa, Elymus caninus and Bromus benekenii. Geum urbanum was the most N demanding species and had little growth below 200 μM. The preference for NH4+or NO3-+NH4+was tested also at pH 4.0; no antagonism was found between NH4+and H+, as indicated by similar relative growth in both of the N treatments at both pH levels. Growth in solution with NH4+relative to NO3-+NH4+, 200 μM, was negatively related to the mean pH of the field occurrence of the species tested; acid-tolerant species grew equally well with only NH4+as with NO3-+NH4+(Oxalis acetosella, Carex pilulifera, Festuca gigantea, Poa nemoralis, Deschampsia flexuosa, Stellaria holostea, Rumex acetosella), while species of less acid soils were favoured by NO3-+NH4+(Urtica dioica, Ficaria verna, Melandrium rubrum, Aegopodium podagraria, Geum urbanum, Bromus benekenii, Sanguisorba minor, Melica ciliata, Silene rupestris, Viscaria vulgaris, Plantago lanceolata). Intermediate species were Convallaria majalis, Elymus caninus, Hordelymus europaeus and Milium effusum. No antagonism between NH4+and Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+ was indicated by the total uptake of the elements during the experiment.

Key words

Ammonium uptake Nitrate uptake Nitrogen preference Nitrogen mineralization Vascular plants 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ursula Falkengren-Grerup
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil-Plant ResearchDepartment of EcologyLundSweden

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