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Fixed allocation patterns, rather than plasticity, benefit recruitment and recovery from drought in seedlings of a desert shrub

The growth conditions of Haloxylon ammodendron seedlings before treatments. Photo credit: Yao Zhang
The growth conditions of Haloxylon ammodendron seedlings before treatments. Photo credit: Yao Zhang

Plant morphological traits respond to drought in a rather flexible way; however, there is recent evidence of exceptions. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Zhang et al. examined the effect of drought on morphological traits of seedlings of a desert shrub (Haloxylon ammodendron, a widely distributed shrub in desert regions of Asia and Africa) and found that the species has an ‘intrinsic habit’ of investing preferentially in the roots, irrespective of drought. What is more, this inflexibility promotes its physiological recovery after drought and makes it survive in the severe desert environment. That is to say, persistence will pay off.

Written by AoBPLANTS

AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.

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