Annals of Botany

Carbohydrate storage and leaf biomass scaling in meadow plants

These findings imply that storage in herbs is probably governed by factors other than just the disturbance regime applied once in a growing season.

Temperate meadows are regularly mown, and the plants inhabiting them are adapted to this disturbance event. Klimešová et al. test the hypothesis that plants succeed in renewing aboveground biomass by accumulating storage sugars in belowground organs as their adaptive-strategy.

A chap holding a stalk of grass

Field experiments revealed that meadow plants, including the grass Bromus erectus, graminoid Carex montana and the tall grass Molinia cearulea accumulate sugars in amounts that reflect their size rather than the disturbance regime. Further, the amount of storage sugars was more affected by seasonality than by disturbance regime, implying that perennial herbs in seasonal climates may tolerate one disturbance event per year. Storage carbohydrates also assist overwintering.