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

Factors affecting the distribution of proteoid roots within the root systems of two Hakea species

B Lamont

Australian Journal of Botany 21(2) 165 - 187
Published: 1973


The proteoid roots of Hakea prostrata and H. laurina are concentrated in the surface soil horizons, even though the root systems penetrate to much greater depths. The relationships of a number of soil and plant factors to proteoid root occurrence in a given portion of the root system were examined. Pockets of humus-rich soil in any part of the root system greatly increased the proteoid root concentration in that region. The following factors, listed in their apparent order of importance, were analysed: local concentration of parent roots, local level of soil organic matter, local nitrogen availability, shoot growth, nitrogen concentration of the shoots, vertical distance of the region from the soil surface, local availability of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, local bulk density and certain other physical factors, nutrient status of the rest of the root system, horizontal distance of the region from the centre of the plant, relative maturity of parent roots in the region, and local soil pH and certain other chemical factors.

The nitrogen component of soil regions high in organic matter largely accounted for their higher non-proteoid root concentration, smaller proteoid root size, greater number of laterals, and longer roots per unit weight, but not their much greater number of proteoid roots per unit total root weight. This suggests that other factors are also involved in proteoid root formation.

© CSIRO 1973

Export Citation