|Authors: ||R.W. Cameron, C.M. King, S. Robinson|
|Keywords: ||water-logging, stomatal conductance, root-development, Cistus, Lavandula, Salvia, Stachys|
Mediterranean species are popular landscape plants in the UK and well suited to the predicted climate change scenarios of hotter, drier summers.
What is less clear is how these species will respond to the more unpredictable rainfall patterns also anticipated, where soil water-logging may become more prevalent, especially in urban environments where soil sealing can restrict drainage.
Pot experiments on flooding of four Mediterranean species (Cistus × hybridus, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’, Salvia officinalis and Stachys byzantina) showed that the effects of waterlogging were only severe when the temperature was high and flooding prolonged.
All plants survived the flooding in winter, but during the summer a 17-day flood resulted in the death of 30-40% of the Salvia officinalis and Cistus × hybridus. To examine the response of roots to oxygen deprivation over a range of conditions from total absence of oxygen (anoxia), low oxygen (hypoxia) and full aeration, rooted cuttings of Salvia officinalis were grown in a hydroponic-based system and mixtures of oxygen and nitrogen gases bubbled through the media.
Anoxia was found to reduce root development dramatically.
When the plants were subjected to a period of hypoxia they responded by increasing the production of lateral roots close to the surface thus enabling them to acclimate to subsequent anoxia.
This greatly increased their chances of survival.
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