Journal Article

Architectural strategies of <i>Cornus sericea</i>, a native but invasive shrub of Southern Quebec, Canada, under an open or a closed canopy

T. Charles-Dominique, C. Edelin and A. Bouchard

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 2, pages 205-220
Published in print February 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp273
Architectural strategies of Cornus sericea, a native but invasive shrub of Southern Quebec, Canada, under an open or a closed canopy

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Background and Aims

Qualitative and quantitative studies of the pattern of invasive plant development is considered a key aspect in understanding invasiveness. An architectural analysis was therefore performed in order to understand the relationship between shoot architecture and invasiveness in red-osier dogwood, Cornus sericea (Cornaceae).

Methods

The structural and ontogenic characteristics of individuals in invading and non-invading populations in the native range of the species were compared to test the implication of developmental plasticity on invasiveness.

Key Results and Conclusions

The results show that the shrub has a modular architecture governed by strong developmental rules. Cornus sericea is made up of two levels of organization, each with its own intrinsic sequence of differentiation. These intrinsic mechanisms were used as a framework for comparison and it was found that, in response to the light environment, developmental plasticity was elevated, resulting in two architectural strategies. This developmental plasticity concerns the growth direction and the size of the modules, the speed of their time-course changes, their branching and flowering. Under an open canopy, C. sericea rapidly develops large vertical structures and abundant flowering. This strategy leads the plant to be invasive by excluding competitors and disseminating in the landscape. In the understorey, C. sericea slowly develops long horizontal structures which creep across the soil surface, while assimilating structures are poorly developed. This strategy does not lead to invasiveness but may allow the plant to survive in the understorey and reach sunny patches.

Keywords: Cornus sericea; Cornus stolonifera; red-osier dogwood; shrub; invasive; architecture; phenotypic plasticity; development; light; human disturbance

Journal Article.  9574 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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