Stem and leaf growth of alpine sun and prairie shade ecotypes of Stellaria longipes under different photoperiods: role of ethylene

Walton, L.J.; Kurepin, L.V.; Reid, D.M.; Chinnappa, C.C.

Canadian Journal of Botany 84(9): 1496-1502


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4026
DOI: 10.1139/b06-111
Accession: 012889171

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Plant ecotypes of Stellaria longipes Goldie from competitive, shade-adapted prairie habitat and less competitive, nonshaded alpine habitat were subjected to shortened or extended photoperiod conditions. Increasing daylength was positively correlated to increased stem elongation in both ecotypes. Leaf length and area for shade (prairie) plants was significantly altered with increased photoperiods, whereas sun (alpine) plants exhibited minimal leaf expansion in response to increased photoperiod. Increased ethylene evolution in the alpine genotype during rapid stem elongation and extended photoperiods suggests that ethylene plays a growth regulatory role in this sun-adapted genotype. The prairie genotype evolved less ethylene during these same periods, indicating either a diminished requirement for elevated ethylene to effect elongation and leaf expansion responses or possibly increased ethylene sensitivity because of interactions with other hormones, such as gibberellin or auxin. The sun genotype consistently produced more ethylene than the shade genotype under all photoperiod treatments. We conclude that photoperiod alters stem elongation and leaf expansion responses; similar trends were observed for extended photoperiods as were observed for shaded conditions, specifically low light intensity (photosynthetically active radiation) conditions. Further, ethylene levels altered during these responses, especially in sun-adapted alpine plants, which suggests that ethylene is involved in these growth responses.