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Mineral Nutrition of Some Queensland Heath Plants

N. J. Grundon
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Mar., 1972), pp. 171-181
DOI: 10.2307/2258049
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2258049
Page Count: 11
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Mineral Nutrition of Some Queensland Heath Plants
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Abstract

The `Wallum' is a coastal region in southern Queensland, characterized by extremely infertile soils, and unsuitable for agriculture without substantial improvement, although it supports a dense native vegetation. Six representative Wallum species were grown in nutrient solution culture, simultaneously with three cultivars of crop species, under conditions which provided a range of concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. It was found that the Wallum plants grew best at phosphorus and calcium levels which induced severe deficiency symptoms in the cultivars. Responses to nitrogen and potassium were masked by the development of phosphorus toxicity, especially at low levels of nitrogen and potassium. The successful adaptation of Wallum plants to low phosphorus appears to be due to a variety of causes, especially high seed phosphorus and more efficient utilization of phosphorus in production of dry matter, whereas the adaptation to low calcium appears to be associated with pronounced sensitivity to high levels of calcium in the tissue. Wallum plants also seem able to use available potassium more efficiently than the cultivars.

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