, Volume 186, Issue 2, pp 289–302 | Cite as

Allocation patterns and phenology in wild and selected accessions of annual and perennial Physaria (Lesquerella, Brassicaceae)

  • Luciana González-PaleoEmail author
  • Damián A. Ravetta


Two processes that determine a good performance of plants in arid environments are phenology and resource allocation patterns. With a longer growing season and larger allocation to root, perennials achieve better access to resources and are more resilient to stresses than annuals. In traditional agricultural systems selection for optimal soil nutrient uptake has been a secondary breeding objective, because crops receive subsidies of water and fertilizers. However in arid lands, caution is required during domestication, to avoid changes in structural traits which may be the basis for sustainable production. Due to inherent differences in hierarchy among annual and perennial species, we propose that the changes in phenology and allocation brought about by selection will depend on the life cycle. We performed field studies comparing wild and selected accessions of annual and perennial species of Physaria. Life cycle determined the functional basis of seed yield. In annuals, selection resulted in early anthesis (1 week earlier), a lower allocation to roots and leaves (twofold lower), and an increase in harvest index (an increase of 62%). Selected perennials had higher biomass at maturity (45% higher), linked to a longer reproductive period (3 weeks longer) than their wild relatives. The vegetative allocation found in wild perennials remained unchanged after selection. While annuals selected for seed yield could compromise the capacity for acquisition of resources, selection in perennials did not modify the allocation strategy responsible for their positive adjustment to low resource environments. We found a trade off between seed yield potential and yield stability that resulted in lower performance of selected accessions in low quality environments in relation to their wild relatives.


Harvest index Root Anthesis Yield stability Selection Arid lands 



This work was founded in part with CONICET, PIP 112-200801-03142 and in part for FONCYT, PID 2003 363. The main author held a doctoral scholarship from CONICET during the time these experiments were done. The authors want to express their gratitude to Dr. David Dierig that provided useful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICET-Museo Paleontológico Egidio FeruglioTrelewArgentina

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