Plant Diversity ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (05): 601-610.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.01.006

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Convergent relationships between flower economics and hydraulic traits across aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous plants

Yan Kea,b, Feng-Ping Zhangc, Yun-Bing Zhanga,b, Wei Lid, Qin Wanga,b, Da Yanga, Jiao-Lin Zhanga, Kun-Fang Caoe   

  1. a. CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China;
    b. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    c. College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yunnan University of Chinese Medicine, Kunming, Yunnan 650500, China;
    d. School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Puer University, Puer, Yunnan 665000, China;
    e. State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources, Guangxi Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Conservation, Guangxi University, Daxuedong Road 100, Nanning, Guangxi 530004, China
  • Received:2022-10-18 Revised:2023-01-14 Online:2023-09-25 Published:2023-11-04
  • Contact: Jiao-Lin Zhang,
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32171507, 31870385, 31901285) and CAS “Light of West China” program. The Institutional Center for Shared Technologies and Facilities of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed the flower nutrient concentrations. The Centre for Gardening and Horticulture of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences provided data on flower phenology. We thank the two reviewers for their constructive comments that improved the quality of this manuscript.

Abstract: Maintaining open flowers is critical for successful pollination and depends on long-term water and carbon balance. Yet the relationship between how flower hydraulic traits are coordinated in different habitats is poorly understood. Here, we hypothesize that the coordination and trade-offs between floral hydraulics and economics traits are independent of environmental conditions. To test this hypothesis, we investigated a total of 27 flower economics and hydraulic traits in six aquatic and six terrestrial herbaceous species grown in a tropical botanical garden. We found that although there were a few significant differences, most flower hydraulics and economics traits did not differ significantly between aquatic and terrestrial herbaceous plants. Both flower mass per area and floral longevity were significantly positively correlated with the time required for drying full-hydrated flowers to 70% relative water content. Flower dry matter content was strongly and positively related to drought tolerance of the flowers as indicated by flower water potential at the turgor loss point. In addition, there was a trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and the construction cost of a flower across species. Our results show that flowers of aquatic and terrestrial plants follow the same economics spectrum pattern. These results suggest a convergent flower economics design across terrestrial and aquatic plants, providing new insights into the mechanisms by which floral organs adapt to aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

Key words: Aquatic plants, Floral longevity, Flower economics traits, Flower hydraulic traits, Terrestrial plants