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Front Plant Sci. 2016 Feb 16;7:151. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00151. eCollection 2016.

Delayed Flowering in Bamboo: Evidence from Fargesia qinlingensis in the Qinling Mountains of China.

Author information

1
Analytic Consulting Group, Epsilon Blue Ash, OH, USA.
2
School of Biological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO USA.
3
Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences Wuhan, China.
4
H. W. Essig Nutrition Lab, Mississippi State University Starkville, MS USA.

Abstract

Gregarious flowering of bamboo species impacts ecosystem properties and conservation, but documentation of these periodic events is difficult. Here, we compare the characteristics of flowering sites and un-flowered patches of an arrow bamboo (Fargesia qinlingensis) in the Qinling Mountains, China, over a 5-year period (2003-2007) after a mast flowering event (2003). We examined flowering culm and seedling characteristics in relation to questions regarding the evolution of delayed flowering. Density of live culms decreased over the 5 years in both flowering sites and un-flowered patches. New shoots regenerated only in un-flowered patches. Chemical constituent allocation varied among culm parts (stems, branches, and leaves). Crude protein and extract ether in branches and leaves were less in flowering culms than in un-flowered culms. Seedling density was lower than expected based on floret counts, suggesting predation of seeds. Seedling density was significantly greater in flowering sites than in un-flowered patches and decreased over time. Seedlings performed better in flowering sites than in un-flowered patches based on their height, leaf number per seedling, and average leaf length, while fertilization on flowering sites had no significant effect on seedling growth, suggesting a saturation of resources. This study suggested that the characteristics of bamboos and bamboo stands were dramatically altered during this flowering event, enhancing seedling establishment and growth, and supporting mostly the habitat modification hypothesis of delayed reproduction.

KEYWORDS:

biomass; clonal; delayed flowering; energy allocation; gregarious; habitat modification; predator satiation

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