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Phosphorus accumulation in Proteaceae seeds: a synthesis

Abstract

The family Proteaceae dominates the nutrient-poor, Mediterranean-climate floristic regions of southwestern Australia (SWA) and the Cape of South Africa. It is well-recognised that mediterranean Proteaceae have comparatively large seeds that are enriched with phosphorus (P), stored mainly as salts of phytic acid in protein globoids. Seed P can contribute up to 48% of the total aboveground P, with the fraction allocated depending on the species fire response. For SWA species, 70–80% of P allocated to fruiting structures is invested in seeds, compared with 30–75% for Cape species, with SWA species storing on average 4.7 times more P per seed at twice the concentration. When soil P is less limiting for growth, seed P reserves may be less important for seedling establishment, and hence plants there tend to produce smaller seeds with less P. For Australian Hakea and Grevillea species the translocation of P from the fruit wall to the seed occurs in the days/weeks before final fruit dry mass is reached, and accounts for 4–36% of seed P. Seed P content increases with the level of serotiny, though it decreases marginally as a fraction of the total reproductive structure. The greater occurrence of serotiny and higher seed P content within the Proteaceae in SWA supports the notion that SWA soils are more P-impoverished than those of the Cape.

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Acknowledgements

This paper was an invited presentation to the ‘Phosphorus as a limiting resource’ workshop held in conjunction with the 35th Annual Conference of the South African Association of Botanists in January 2009. Mike Cramer and Jeremy Midgley kindly provided data for Fig. 1, and Katherine Baker assisted in collating seed weights for the appendix dataset. This paper represents contribution CEDD54-2009 of the Centre for Ecosystem Diversity and Dynamics, Curtin University of Technology.

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Correspondence to Philip K. Groom.

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Responsible Editor: Michael Denis Cramer.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Seed phosphorus data for southwestern Australian and Cape of South Africa Proteaceae. Hakea data from the Cape represent naturalised populations. Nomenclature as used by the respective authors. For fire response: R = resprouts, K = fire-killed. For serotiny: 0 = non-serotinous, 1 = seeds retained 1–3 years (weakly serotinous), 2 = seeds retained >4 years (strongly serotinous).

  Fire response Serotiny Seed dry mass (mg) P content (mg g-1) Total P (mg)
SW Australia
B. attenuata a R 2 89 10.4 0.89
B. burdettii a K 2 34 10.2 0.34
B. chamaephyton a R 2 116 6.6 0.81
B. coccinea b K 1 14 10.0 0.14
B. hookeriana a K 2 34 11.3 0.37
B. hookeriana b K 2 38 12.0 0.46
B. hookeriana c K 2 46 12.0 0.56
B. laricina d K 2 22 12.3 0.26
B. menziesii a R 1 78 12.1 0.94
B. menziesii c R 1 88 12.0 1.05
B. prionotes a K 1 23 11.8 0.27
B. prionotes c K 1 25 13.0 0.33
B. scabrella a K 2 30 11.5 0.34
B. speciosa c K 2 114 10 1.14
Dryandra formosa b K 1 10 9.9 0.10
Grevillea annulifera b K 0 120 9.8 1.18
G. candelabroides e K 0 23 14.8 0.34
G. eriostachya e R 0 51 13.4 0.68
G. excelsior e K 0 86 12.8 1.10
G. hookeriana e K 0 43 13.4 0.57
G. leucopteris e K 0 46 9.7 0.45
G. petrophiloides e K 0 24 10.5 0.25
G. pinaster e R 0 79 12.0 0.94
G. polybotrya e K 0 31 12.5 0.39
G. tripartita e K 0 45 6.1 0.27
G. wilsonii f R 0 121 8.7 1.1
Hakea circumalata g K 1 23 13.6 0.32
H. crassifolia c K 2 129 11.0 1.42
H. erinacea h K 1 12 11.7 0.14
H. lasianthoides i K 1 20 17.9 0.14
H. obliqua c K 2 27 16.0 0.44
H. recurva c K 0 18 10.0 0.18
H. stenocarpa c R 1 14 16 0.22
H. trifurcata h K 1 16 12.2 0.20
H. undulata f K 2 32 13.7 0.44
H. platysperma b K 2 298 21.6 6.56
H. platysperma c K 2 630 25 15.76
H. psilorrhyncha g K 2 67 14.5 0.97
H. pycnoneura j K 2 6t 36 0.21
H. victoria b K 2 28 13.7 0.38
Xylomelum angustifolium b R 2 756 19.6 14.82
South Africa
Aulax umbellata u K 1 33v 2.5 0.08
Hakea drupacea k K 2 34 13.4 1.12
H. sericea l K 2 34r 11.7 0.40
H. sericea k K 2 84 9.9 0.83
Leucadendron argenteum l K 1 186r 1.1 0.20
L. coniferum m K 1 13 9.0 0.11
L. gandogeri u K 1 20v 5.0 0.10
L. linifolium u K 1 12v 4.2 0.05
L. meridianum m K 1 9 12.2 0.11
L. xanthoconus u K 1 12v 6.9 0.08
Leucospermum cordifolium l K 0 88r 1.9 0.17
L. conocarpodendron n R 0 93 1.6 0.15
L. cuneiforme l R 0 77r 1.9 0.15
L. oleifolium l K 0 61r 1.8 0.11
L. parile l K 0 18r 5.1 0.09
L. parile o K 0 30 5.4 0.16
Protea compacta p K 1 160 5.4 0.86
P. mundii l K 1 65s 3.6 0.23
P. neriifolia l K 1 22r 2.2 0.05
P. repens l K 1 34r 1.8 0.06
P. repens p K 1 82 4.6 0.38
P. obtusifolia q K 1 30 7.2 0.22
P. obtusifolia m K 1 23 10.7 0.25
P. susannae m K 1 36 10.9 0.39
  1. a Denton et al. (2007), b Kuo et al. (1982), c Milberg et al. (1998), d Stock et al. (1989), e Hocking (1986), f Hocking (1982), g Milberg and Lamont (1997), h Groom and Lamont (2004), i Lamont and Groom (2002), j Pate et al. (1986), k Cramer and Midgley (2009), l Mitchell and Allsopp (1984), m Mustart and Cowling (1992), n RM Cowling and BB Lamont (unpub. data), o Witkowski (1990), p Witkowski (1991) q Esler et al. (1989), r SM Jongens-Roberts and DT Mitchell (unpub. data), s AB Low (unpub. data), t Liu et al. (2008), u unpublished data from Cramer and Midgley (2009), v Brown et al. (2003)

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Groom, P.K., Lamont, B.B. Phosphorus accumulation in Proteaceae seeds: a synthesis. Plant Soil 334, 61–72 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-009-0135-6

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Keywords

  • Southwestern Australia
  • Cape Floristic Region
  • Seed phosphorus concentration
  • Hakea
  • Grevillea
  • Banksia
  • Protea
  • Leucospermum
  • Serotiny