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Acclimation to sun and shade of three accessions of the Chilean native berry-crop murta

Abstract

Murta (Ugni molinae Turcz.) is an evergreen shrub of the native forest understorey of southern Chile that produces berries which are consumed in the local markets. Because of the natural adaptation of murta to growing under the shade of trees, we propose that an adequate way of domesticating this species would be its cultivation in agroforestry systems. In order to assess the suitability of three murta accessions from different regions in southern Chile for their cultivation in such systems, we established a trial in which these accessions were submitted to six light transmittance levels (20%–100% of full solar irradiance) from planting in spring to the following autumn. Optimum growth, as assessed through dry mass accumulation and emission of branches and metamers, was achieved at moderate light transmittance levels (50%–65%). These growth traits showed stable positive responses to the relative amount of light intercepted by the plants (as estimated from plant structural traits) up to these optimum light transmittance levels and diverged to lower values thereafter. These stable relationships suggest that the differences in plant growth at low and moderate light transmittance levels can be attributed to restrictions of photosynthesis by light availability. The reduction in growth for higher light transmittance levels may be partly attributed to photoinhibition as suggested by reduced chlorophyll content and relatively low increments in carotenoid content in leaves at high light transmittance levels.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Mrs. Christina Koch and Dr. Carlos Winkler from “Fundo Puntiagudo” for facilitating the use and maintenance of the experimental plot in Puntiagudo and Mrs. Astrid von Conta for helping with selection and collection of plant material.

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Correspondence to Nicolás Franck.

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Franck, N., Winkler, S., Pastenes, C. et al. Acclimation to sun and shade of three accessions of the Chilean native berry-crop murta. Agroforest Syst 69, 215–229 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-007-9040-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-007-9040-2

Keywords

  • Carotenoids
  • Chlorophyll
  • Vegetative growth
  • Light transmittance
  • Light interception
  • Southern Chile
  • Ugni molinae