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J Exp Bot. 2004 Feb;55(396):321-36.

Phylogenetic variation in the shoot mineral concentration of angiosperms.

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Horticulture Research International, Wellesbourne, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK.


The calcium (Ca) concentration of plant shoot tissues varies systematically between angiosperm orders. The phylogenetic variation in the shoot concentration of other mineral nutrients has not yet been described at an ordinal level. The aims of this study were (1) to quantify the shoot mineral concentration of different angiosperm orders, (2) to partition the phylogenetic variation in shoot mineral concentration between and within orders, (3) to determine if the shoot concentration of different minerals are correlated across angiosperm species, and (4) to compare experimental data with published ecological survey data on 81 species sampled from their natural habitats. Species, selected pro rata from different angiosperm orders, were grown in a hydroponic system under a constant external nutrient regime. Shoots of 117 species were sampled during vegetative growth. Significant variation in shoot carbon (C), calcium (Ca), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) concentration occurred between angiosperm orders. There was no evidence for systematic differences in shoot phosphorus (P) or organic-nitrogen (N) concentration between orders. At a species level, there were strong positive correlations between shoot Ca and Mg concentration, between shoot P and organic-N concentration, and between shoot K concentration and shoot fresh weight:dry weight ratio. Shoot C and cation concentration correlated negatively at a species level. Species within the Poales and the Caryophyllales had distinct shoot mineralogies in both the designed experiment and in the ecological survey.

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