Vegetative phenology of alpine plants at Tateyama Murodo-daira in central Japan
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The vegetative phenology of 29 alpine species, including herbaceous and woody summergreens and evergreens, was investigated. Summergreen species initiated and completed leaf growth earlier than evergreen species. The green period of leaves in summergreen plants was determined largely by the time of growth initiation. Early initiation of growth in summergreen plants contributes to the increase in photosynthetic carbon gain. Early cessation of growth in summergreens is advantageous for the growth in the following year because it leads to an increase in stored photosynthates. The growth period of leaves and stems in alpine plants correlated with the time of growth initiation more strongly than with the time of growth cessation, indicating the importance of early growth initiation for the increase in plant growth. The growth period of leaves was positively correlated with the sum of leaf lengths and the number of leaves. Herbs with a long growth period of more than 50 days had perennial shoot axes not terminated by inflorescences, suggesting a relationship between the growth period and shoot habit. Two summergreen species were completely dead by mid-September, before the air temperature decreased below 0°C. The remaining summergreen species died immediately after the air temperature decreased to −1.4°C in late September.
KeywordsEvergreen Growth cessation Growth initiation Growth period Leaf senescence Summergreen
I thank Dr. T. Nakano, Mr. R. Shimamura, and Mr. T. Ohara of Tokyo Metropolitan University (at the time of the investigation) for their assistance during the first monitoring, and Mr. M. Nakamura of Tateyama Kurobe Kanko Co., for supplying air temperature data. I also thank two reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was conducted with the permission of the Japan Environmental Agency and the Japan Cultural Agency. It was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (03640556 and 05304053) of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Japan.
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