Phenotypic plasticity can have a great impact on the distribution of taxa and the productivity of crops across contrasting environments. Berlin et al. study the genetic architecture of biomass traits, including phenotypic plasticity in an experimental hybrid willow (Salix) population.
The population was planted over three common garden experiments, comprising one climatic contrast between Sweden and Italy and one water availability contrast in Italy. Compared to phenological traits, the genetic regulation of biomass traits was highly sensitive to the climate. These important findings demonstrate that breeding systems should be adapted according to climate in order to maximise biomass production in willows.