Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 141–170 | Cite as

Phenotypic plasticity inPotamogeton (Potamogetonaceae)

  • Zdenek KaplanEmail author


Sources of the extensive morphological variation of the species and hybrids ofPotamogeton were studied, especially from the viewpoint of the stability of the morphological characters used inPotamogeton taxonomy. Transplant experiments, the cultivation of clones under different values of environmental factors, and the cultivation of different clones under uniform conditions were performed to assess the proportion of phenotypic plasticity in the total morphological variation. Samples from 184 populations of 41Potamogeton taxa were grown. The immense range of phenotypic plasticity, which is possible for a single clone, is documented in detail in 14 well-described examples. The differences among distinct populations of a single species observed in the field were mostly not maintained when grown together under the same environmental conditions. Clonal material cultivated under different values of environmental factors produced distinct phenotypes, and in a few cases a single genotype was able to demonstrate almost the entire range of morphological variation in an observed trait known for that species. Several characters by recent literature claimed to be suitable for distinguishing varieties or even species were proven to be dependent on environmental conditions and to be highly unreliable markers for the delimiation of taxa. The unsatisfactory taxonomy that results when such classification of phenotypes is adopted is illustrated by three examples from recent literature. Phenotypic plasticity was found to be the main source of morphological variation within the species ofPotamogeton, having much more influence than morphological differences caused by different genotypes.


Classification Cultivation experiments Modification Phenotype Taxonomy Variability Variation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allsopp A. (1965): Land and water forms: physiological aspects.Handb. Pflanzenphysiol. (Encyc. Plant Physiol.) 15: 1236–1255.Google Scholar
  2. Ascherson P. &Graebner P. (1897):Synopsis der mitteleuropäischen Flora 1. Wilhelm Engelman, Leipzig.Google Scholar
  3. Bradshaw A.D. (1965): Evolutionary significance of phenotypic plasticity in plants.Advances Genet. 13: 115–155.Google Scholar
  4. Busik V.V. (1979): SemejstvoPotamogetonaceae — Rdestovye. In:Malyshev L.I. &Peshkova G.A. (eds.),Flora Tsentral’noi Sibiri (Flora of Central Siberia) 1, Nauka, Novosibirsk, pp. 57–65 & 444–445.Google Scholar
  5. Calder J.A. &Taylor R.L. (1965): New taxa and nomenclatural changes with respect to the Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia.Canad. J. Bot. 43: 1387–1400.Google Scholar
  6. Casper S. J. &Krausch H.-D. (1980):Pteridophyta undAnthophyta. 1. Teil:Lycopodiaceae bisOrchidaceae. In:Ettl H., Gerloff J. &Heynig H. (eds.),Süßwasserflora von Mitteleuropa 23, Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart & New York, pp. 1–403.Google Scholar
  7. Chen Y.D. (1987): Studies on thePotamogetonaceae in Qinghai Lake.Acta Hydrobiol. Sin. 11: 228–235.Google Scholar
  8. Cox J. (1997): Terrestrial form ofMyriophyllum alterniflorum.Bot. Soc. Brit. Isles News 77: 36–37.Google Scholar
  9. Dandy J.E. (1937): The genusPotamogeton L. in tropical Africa.J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 50: 507–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dandy J.E. (1958):List of British vascular plants. Brit. Museum, London.Google Scholar
  11. Dandy J.E. (1971):Potamogetonaceae. In:Rechinger K.H. (ed.),Flora Iranica 83, Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, Graz, pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
  12. Dandy J.E. (1980): 1.Potamogeton L. In:Tutin T.G., Heywood V.H., Burges N.A., Moore D.M., Valentine D.H., Walters S.M. &Webb D.A. (eds.),Flora Europaea 5, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, pp. 7–11.Google Scholar
  13. Davis P.H. &Heywood V.H. (1963):Principles of angiosperm taxonomy. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  14. Fieber F.X. (1838):PotamogetonDiosc. In:Berchtold F.G. & Opiz P.M. (eds.),Oekonomisch-technische Flora Böhmens 2/1, Prag, pp. 242–287.Google Scholar
  15. Fischer G. (1904): Beitrag zur Kenntnis der bayerischen Potamogetoneen. IV.Mitt. Bayer. Bot. Ges., München 1: 356–366 & 375–388.Google Scholar
  16. Fischer G. (1905): Beitrag zur Kenntnis der bayerischen Potamogetoneen. V.Mitt. Bayer. Bot. Ges., München 1: 471–475.Google Scholar
  17. Fischer G. (1907): Die bayerischen Potamogetonen und Zannichellien.Ber. Bayer. Bot. Ges. 11: 20–162.Google Scholar
  18. Fries E.M. (1828):Novitiae florae suecicae. Ed. 2. Londini Gothorum.Google Scholar
  19. Fryer A. (1890): Supposed hybridity inPotamogeton.J. Bot. 28: 173–179.Google Scholar
  20. Fryer A. (1894):Potamogeton polygonifolius v.pseudo-fluitans.J. Bot. 32: 97–100.Google Scholar
  21. Fryer A. (1898):The Potamogetons (Pond Weeds) of the British Isles. London. [pp. 1–24, t. 1–12]Google Scholar
  22. Fryer A. (1900):The Potamogetons (Pond Weeds) of the British Isles. London. [pp. 37–56, t. 25–36]Google Scholar
  23. Fryer A. & Bennett A. (1915):The Potamogetons (Pond Weeds) of the British Isles. London.Google Scholar
  24. Galinis V. (1963): 1 šeima. Pludiniai —PotamogetonaceaeEngl. In:Natkevicaite-IvanauskieneM. (ed.),Lietuvos TSR Flora 2, Lietuvos TSR Mokslu Akad., Vilnius, pp. 35–84 & 677.Google Scholar
  25. Galinis V. (1969): Novae formaePotamogetonum in flora RSS Lituaniae.Lietuvos T.S.R. Mokslu Akad. Biol. Inst. Darb., Biol. 9: 43–60.Google Scholar
  26. Glück H. (1936): Pteridophyten und Phanerogamen. In:Pascher A. (ed.),Süsswasserflora Mitteleuropas 15, Jena.Google Scholar
  27. Graebner P. (1907): 4.Potamogeton (Tourn.) L. In:Engler A. (ed.),Das Pflanzenreich, Regni vegetabilis conspectus 31 (IV.11), Berlin, pp. 39–142, 161–162.Google Scholar
  28. Hagström J.O. (1916): Critical researches on the Potamogetons.Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad. Handl. 55(5): 1–281.Google Scholar
  29. Hagström J.O. (1922): 14 Fam.Potamogetonaceæ. In:Holmberg O.R. (ed.),Hartman’s handbok i skandinaviens flora 1 (Hartman’s handbook of Scandinavian flora), Stockholm, pp. 80–104.Google Scholar
  30. Hara H. (1985): Comments on the East Asiatic plants (17).J. Jap. Bot. 60: 230–238.Google Scholar
  31. Haynes R.R. (1974): A revision of North AmericanPotamogeton subsectionPusilli (Potamogetonaceae).Rhodora 76: 564–649.Google Scholar
  32. Haynes R.R. &Hellquist C. B. (1996): New combinations in North AmericanAlismatidae.Novon 6: 370–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hultén E. (1937):Flora of the Aleutean Islands. Stockholm.Google Scholar
  34. Hultén E. (1941):Flora of Alaska and Yukon I. Lund.Google Scholar
  35. Hultén E. (1964): The circumpolar plants. Vol. 1. Vascular cryptogams, conifers, monocotyledons.Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad. Handl., Ser. 4, 8(5): 1–280.Google Scholar
  36. Idestam-Almquist J. &Kautsky L. (1995): Plastic responses in morphology ofPotamogeton pectinatus L. to sediment and above-sediment conditions at two sites in the northern Baltic proper.Aquatic Bot. 52: 205–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jupp B.P. &Spence D.H.N. (1977): Limitation of macrophytes in a eutrophic lake, Loch Leven. II: Wave action, sediments and waterfowl grazing.J. Ecol. 65: 431–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kalkman L. &van Wijk R. J. (1984): On the variation on chromosome number inPotamogeton pectinatus L.Aquatic Bot. 20: 343–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kaplan Z. (2001):Potamogeton ×fluitans (P. natans ×P. lucens) in the Czech Republic. I. Morphology and anatomy.Preslia 73: 333–340.Google Scholar
  40. Kapp E. (1978): 118. — Potamogétonacées. In:Guinochet M. &de Vilmorin R. (eds.),Flore de France 3, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, pp. 870–879.Google Scholar
  41. Kashina L.I. (Kaschina L.I.) (1988): Semeistvo 24.Potamogetonaceae — Rdestovye. In:Krasnoborov I.M. (ed.),Flora Sibiri, Lycopodiaceae —Hydrocharitaceae, Nauka, Novosibirsk, pp. 93–105 & 165–176.Google Scholar
  42. Kautsky L. (1987): Life-cycles of three populationsPotamogeton pectinatus L., at different degrees of wave exposure in the Askö area, northern Baltic proper.Aquatic Bot. 27: 177–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kautsky L. (1991): In situ experiments on interrelationships between six brackish macrophyte species.Aquatic Bot. 39: 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Krahulec F. &Kaplan Z. (1995): Diversity ofPotamogeton species during 21 years of succession in a new water reservoir.Preslia 66: 237–241.Google Scholar
  45. Krahulec F. &Lepš J. (1993): The migration of vascular plants to a new water reservoir: geografic relationships.Preslia 65: 147–162.Google Scholar
  46. Krahulec F. &Lepš J. (1994): Establishment success of plant immigrants in a new water reservoir.Folia Geobot. Phytotax. 29: 3–14.Google Scholar
  47. Krahulec F., Lepš J. &Rauch O. (1980): Vegetation of the Rozkoš reservoir near Česká Skalice (East Bohemia). 1. The vegetation development during the first five years after its filling.Folia Geobot. Phytotax. 15: 321–362.Google Scholar
  48. Krahulec F., Lepš J. &Rauch O. (1987): Vegetation succesion on a new lowland reservoir.Arch. Hydrobiol., Beih. Ergebnisse Limnol. 27: 83–93.Google Scholar
  49. Lansdown R.W. (1999): A terrestrial form ofCallitriche truncataGuss. subsp.occidentalis (Rouy)Braun-Blanquet (Callitrichaceae).Watsonia 22: 283–286.Google Scholar
  50. Les D.H. &Haynes R.R. (1996):Coleogeton (Potamogetonaceae), a new genus of Pondweeds.Novon 6: 389–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Maberly S.C. (1993): Morphological and photosynthetic characteristics ofPotamogeton obtusifolius from different depths.J. Aquatic Pl. Managem. 31: 34–39.Google Scholar
  52. Mäemets A. (1984): 6.PotamogetonaceaeDumort. In:EichwaldK. et al. (eds.),Eesti NSV floora (Flora of Estonia) 9, Valgus, Tallinn, pp. 46–139.Google Scholar
  53. Markgraf F. (1981): FamiliePotamogetonaceae, Laichkrautgewächse. In:Markgraf F. (ed.),Hegi, Illustrierte Flora von Mitteleuropa 1/2, Ed. 3, Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin & Hamburg, pp. 214–246.Google Scholar
  54. Mertens F.C. & Koch W.D.J. (1823):J.C. Röhlings Deutschlands Flora 1. Ed. 3. Frankfurt.Google Scholar
  55. Meyer A. (1987): Phenotypic plasticity and heterochrony inCichlasoma managuense and their implications for speciation in cichlid fisches.Evolution 41: 1357–1369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Muenscher W.C. (1944):Aquatic plants of the United States. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.Google Scholar
  57. Nevečeřal P. &Krahulec F. (1994): Dva noví zástupci roduPotamogeton ve flóře České republiky:P. polygonifolius aP. ×lintonii (P. crispus ×friesii) (TwoPotamogeton taxa new to the flora of the Czech Republic:P. polygonifolius andP. ×lintonii (P. crispus ×friesii)).Preslia 66: 151–158.Google Scholar
  58. Ogden E.C. (1943): The broad-leaved species ofPotamogeton of North America north of Mexico.Rhodora 45: 57–105, 119–163 & 171–214.Google Scholar
  59. Ogden E.C. (1974):Potamogeton in New York.New York State Mus. Sci. Serv. Bull. 423: 1–20.Google Scholar
  60. Ogg A.G. Jr.,Bruns V.F. &Kelly A.D. (1969): Response of sago pondweed to periodic removal of top growth.Weed Sci. 17: 139–141. [n. v.; cit. afterSpencer & Ksander 1990]Google Scholar
  61. Papchenkov V.G. (1997): Zametki oPotamogeton gramineus s.l. (Potamogetonaceae) (Notes onPotamogeton gramineus s. l. (Potamogetonaceae)).Bot. Zhurn. 82(12): 65–76.Google Scholar
  62. Pearsall W.H. &Hanby A.M. (1925): The variation of leaf form inPotamogeton perfoliatus.New Phytol. 24: 112–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Pigliucci M., Politi M. G. &Bellincampi D. (1991): Implications of phenotypic plasticity for numerical taxonomy ofOrnithogalum montanum (Liliaceae).Canad. J. Bot. 69: 34–38.Google Scholar
  64. Pignatti S. (1982):Flora d’Italia 3. Edagricole, Bologna.Google Scholar
  65. Preston C.D. (1988): Alfred Fryer and the study of the genusPotamogeton of the British Isles.Arch. Nat. Hist. 15(1): 15–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Preston C.D. (1995):Pondweeds of Great Britain and Ireland. BSBI, London.Google Scholar
  67. Preston C.D. &Croft J.M. (1997):Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland. Harley Books, Colchester.Google Scholar
  68. Raunkiaer C. (1903): AnatomicalPotamogeton-studies andPotamogeton fluitans.Bot. Tidssk. 25: 253–280.Google Scholar
  69. Reichenbach L. (1845):Icones florae Germanicae et Helveticae 7. Isoeteae — Gramineae. Lipsiae.Google Scholar
  70. Schmid B. (1983): Notes on the nomenclature and taxonomy of theCarex flava group in Europe.Watsonia 14: 309–319.Google Scholar
  71. Schmid B. (1992): Phenotypic variation in plants.Evol. Trends Pl. 6: 45–60.Google Scholar
  72. Scoggan H.J. (1979):The flora of Canada. Part 2: Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Monocotyledonae. National Museum, Ottawa. (“1978”)Google Scholar
  73. Sergievskaya L.P. (1966):Flora Zabajkal’ya (Flora of Zabajkalje) 1.Polypodiaceae — Butomaceae. Izdatel’stvo Tomskogo universiteta, Tomsk.Google Scholar
  74. Simpson D.A. (1988): Phenotypic plasticity ofElodea nuttallii (Planch.)H. St. John andElodea canadensisMichx. in the British Isles.Watsonia 17: 121–132.Google Scholar
  75. Soó R. (1934): A magyar vizek virágos vegetációjának rendszertani és szociologiai áttekintése II (Zur Systematik und Soziologie der Phanerogamen Vegetation der ungarischen Bìnnengewässer II).Magy. Biol. Kutat., Int. Osztál. Munkái 7(1934): 135–153.Google Scholar
  76. Soó R. (1936): A magyar vizek virágos vegetációjának rendszertani és szociologiai áttekintése III (Zur Systematik und Soziologie der Phanerogamen Vegetation der ungarischen Binnengewässer III).Magyar Biol. Kutatóint. Munkái 8(1935–1936): 223–240.Google Scholar
  77. Soó R. (1938a): Die Arten und Formen der GattungPotamogeton in der Flora des historischen Ungarn. I.Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 45(5)/19–21: 65–78.Google Scholar
  78. Soó R. (1938b): Die Arten und Formen der GattungPotamogeton in der Flora des historischen Ungarn. II.Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 45(5)/22–25: 244–256.Google Scholar
  79. Soó R. (1971): Species et combinationes novae florae europae praecipue Hungariae IX.Acta Bot. Acad. Sci. Hung. 16(1970): 363–372.Google Scholar
  80. Spence D.H. N. &Dale H.M. (1978): Variations in the shallow water form ofPotamogeton richardsonii induced by some environmental factors.Freshwater Biol. 8: 251–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Spencer D.F. (1987): Tuber size and planting depth influence growth ofPotamogeton pectinatus L.Amer. Midl. Naturalist 118: 77–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Spencer D.F. &Ksander G.G. (1990a): Influence of planting depth onPotamogeton gramineus L.Aquatic Bot. 36: 343–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Spencer D.F. &Ksander G.G. (1990b): Influence of temperature, light and nutrient limitation on anthocyanin content ofPotamogeton gramineus L.Aquatic Bot. 38: 357–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Spencer D.F. &Ksander G.G. (1991): Influence of temperature and light on early growth ofPotamogeton gramineus L.J. Freshwater Ecol. 6: 227–235.Google Scholar
  85. Spencer D.F., Anderson L.W.J. &Ksander G.G. (1994): Field and greenhouse investigations on winter bud production byPotamogeton gramineus L.Aquatic Bot. 48: 285–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Suessenguth K. (1936): Phanerógamae. Blüten- oder Samenpflanzen.Gymnospermae undMonocotyledones I. (Typhaceae bisGraminae). In:Hegi G. (ed.),Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa 1, Ed. 2, Carl Hansen Verlag, München, pp. 102–520.Google Scholar
  87. Sultan S. E. (1995): Phenotypic plasticity and plant adaptation.Acta Bot. Neerl. 44: 363–383.Google Scholar
  88. Topa E. (1966): Fam. 112.PotamogetonaceaeA.L. Juss. In:SąvulescuT. (ed.),Flora republicii socialiste Romania (Flora of Romania) 11, Acad. Reip. Soc. Rom., Bucuresti, pp. 54–88.Google Scholar
  89. Tur N. M. (1982): Revisión del géneroPotamogeton L. en la Argentina.Darwiniana 24: 217–265.Google Scholar
  90. Tzvelev N.N. (1987): Sem. 136. Rdestovye —PotamogetonaceaeDumort. In:KharkevichS.S. (Charkevicz S.S.) (ed.),Sosudistye rasteniya sovetskogo Dal’nego Vostoka (Plantae vasculares Orientis extremi Sovietici) 2, Nauka, Leningrad, pp. 317–335.Google Scholar
  91. Tzvelev N.N. (1996): O vidakh podrodaColeogeton rodaPotamogeton (Potamogetonaceae) v severo-zapadnoi Rossii (On the species of the subgenusColeogeton of the genusPotamogeton (Potamogetonaceae) in north-western Russia).Bot. Zhurn. 81(7): 88–91.Google Scholar
  92. Tzvelev N. (2000a): Novye kombinatsii taksonov sosudistykh rastenii (Combinationes novae taxorum plantarum vascularium).Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 32: 181–185.Google Scholar
  93. Tzvelev N.N. (2000b):Opredelitel’ sosudistykh rastenii Severo-Zapadnoi Rossii (Leningradskaya, Pskovskaya i Novgorodskaya oblasti) (Manual of the vascular plants of North-West Russia (Leningrad, Pskov and Novgorod provinces)). SPChFA, Sankt-Peterburg.Google Scholar
  94. Van Wijk R.J. (1988): Ecological studies onPotamogeton pectinatus L. I. General characteristics, biomass production and life cycles under field conditions.Aquatic Bot. 31: 211–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Van Wijk R.J. (1989): Ecological studies onPotamogeton pectinatus L. III. Reproductive strategies and germination ecology.Aquatic Bot. 33: 271–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Volobaev P.A. (1991): O dvukh taxonach rodaPotamogeton L. iz Sibiri (On two taxa ofPotamogeton from Siberia).Sibirsk. Biol. Zhurn. 1991: 75–76.Google Scholar
  97. Wiegleb G. &Kaplan Z. (1998): An account of the species ofPotamogeton L. (Potamogetonaceae).Folia Geobot. 33: 241–316.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrůhoniceCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations