Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A putative hybrid of Eucalyptus largiflorens growing on salt- and drought-affected floodplains has reduced specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen

Georgia R. Koerber A E , Jack V. Seekamp A D , Peter A. Anderson A , Molly A. Whalen A and Stephen D. Tyerman B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

B Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture, PO Box 154, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

C School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.

D Deceased (11 February 2007).

E Corresponding author. Email: g.koerber@internode.on.net

Australian Journal of Botany 60(4) 358-367 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT12012
Submitted: 18 January 2012  Accepted: 13 April 2012   Published: 25 June 2012

Abstract

A putative hybrid between Eucalyptus largiflorens F.Muell. and Eucalyptus gracilis F.Muell., called green box, has attracted attention for its ability to grow on the salt- and drought-affected Chowilla floodplain of the Murray River in South Australia. Relationships between carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) and the ratio of substomatal to ambient CO2 (ci/ca) indicated that green box was not as water use efficient as E. largiflorens. Specific leaf area of green box and E. gracilis was significantly lower compared with E. largiflorens (38.38 and 36.96 versus 43.71 cm2 g–1). Leaf nitrogen for green box and E. gracilis was significantly lower compared with E. largiflorens (12.66 and 11.35 versus 15.07 mg g–1 dry weight, P = 0.004 and 0.001, respectively) and leaf carbon of E. gracilis was significantly higher compared with green box and E. largiflorens (541.75 versus 514.90 and 519.82 mg g–1 dry weight, P = 0.002 and 0.011 respectively). There were significantly (P = 0.016) more occurrences of elevated ci/ca below a minimum gs in E. gracilis compared with E. largiflorens, with green box being intermediate (means = 21.6, 6.8 and 9.4). After 10 years, E. largiflorens trunk circumference had significantly increased (P = 0.017) and height had significantly decreased (P = 0.026) due to visible dieback. Green box and E. gracilis grew slower, conserving resources, illustrating a useful strategy to consider when choosing plants for revegetation efforts.


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