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Underground Morphology and Habitat Relationships of Three Pairs of Forest Herbs

Joseph A. Antos
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 75, No. 1 (Jan., 1988), pp. 106-113
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443908
Page Count: 8
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Underground Morphology and Habitat Relationships of Three Pairs of Forest Herbs
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Abstract

To evaluate the ecological importance of differences in underground morphology, ten individuals per species were excavated for three species pairs in a coniferous forest in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The two species of each pair had similar aboveground morphologies, divergent underground morphologies, and different geographical ranges and habitat relationships. Erythronium montanum and Clintonia uniflora have one or two elliptic leaves per ramet but E. montanum has a short, segmented rhizome and only one ramet per genet, whereas C uniflora spreads vegetatively via long rhizomes. Streptopus roseus and Smilacina stellata have similar, determinant aerial shoots and spread by long rhizomes, but S stellata has a dimorphic root and rhizome system that allows it to occupy a wider range of habitats Rubus pedatus and Rubus lasiococcus both spread via stolons, but R lasiococcus has deeper roots and can occupy drier habitats than R pedatus The differences in underground morphology within the species pairs are consistent with the species' geographical ranges and habitats occupied, and may be causal in determining distribution patterns.

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