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Am J Bot. 2009 Apr;96(4):762-70. doi: 10.3732/ajb.0800200. Epub 2009 Mar 11.

Effects of polyploidy on secondary chemistry, physiology, and performance of native and invasive genotypes of Solidago gigantea (Asteraceae).

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station, 3095 Blue Goose Rd., Saukville, Wisconsin 53080 USA.


The role of polyploidy in facilitating invasiveness of introduced plants has not been well explored. Examination of traits of diploid and polyploid plants in both their native and introduced ranges can shed light on evolutionary processes occurring postintroduction in invasive plants. We determined the distribution and prevalence of cytotypes of Solidago gigantea in both its native range (USA) and introduced range (Europe), and measured a suite of biochemical, physiological, and reproductive characters for plants from both continents. Tetraploids were the most frequent cytotype encountered on both continents, while hexaploids were found only in the USA. Hexaploids were the most distinctive cytotype, with fewer differences observed between diploids and tetraploids. Comparison of diploids and tetraploids in the USA and Europe showed that traits changed in concert for both cytotypes. Both diploids and tetraploids in Europe had reduced concentrations of three classes of secondary chemical and invested relatively more into rhizomes than into flowers. The same changes occurring in both cytotypes in the introduced range show that altered phenotypes of European plants are not due to shifts in the proportions of cytotypes but instead occur within them. There was no evidence that polyploids evolve more quickly in the introduced range.

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