Annals of Botany

Clonal integration in the forest canopy vs forest understorey

Lu et al. manipulate rhizome connections in the field in the facultative epiphytic rhizomatous fern Selliguea griffithiana (Polypodiaceae).
Clonal integration in the forest canopy vs forest understorey
Clonal integration in the forest canopy vs forest understorey

Clonal facultative epiphytes occur in both forest canopies (epiphytic habitats) and forest understories (terrestrial habitats), and clonal integration may be more beneficial in the more stressful and heterogeneous conditions in the canopy. Lu et al. manipulate rhizome connections in the field in the facultative epiphytic rhizomatous fern Selliguea griffithiana (Polypodiaceae) and find that whilst integration is advantageous in both habitats, the effects on survival of single ramets and on ramet number and growth are greater in epiphytic habitats than in terrestrial habitats. The benefits of integration are mainly due to resource sharing, but increasing anchoring capacity may be an additional mechanism.

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