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

T. Charles-Dominique, C. Edelin and A. Bouchard
Annals of Botany
Vol. 105, No. 2 (February 2010), pp. 205-220
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43576469
Page Count: 16
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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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Abstract

• 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 timecourse 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.

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