A Seven-Year Study of Phenolic Concentrations of the Dioecious Salix myrsinifolia
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CitationNissinen, Katri. Virjamo, Virpi. Mehtätalo, Lauri. Lavola, Anu. Valtonen, Anu. Nybakken, Line. Julkunen-Tiitto, Riitta. (2018). A Seven-Year Study of Phenolic Concentrations of the Dioecious Salix myrsinifolia. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, 44 (4) , 416-430. 10.1007/s10886-018-0942-4.
In boreal woody plants, concentrations of defensive phenolic compounds are expected to be at a high level during the juvenile phase and decrease in maturity, although there is variation between plant species. Females of dioecious species, like most of the Salicaceae, are expected to invest their resources in defense and reproduction, while males are expected to be more growth-oriented. We studied age- and sex-dependent changes in leaf and stem phenolics, and in height and diameter growth in a dioecious Salix myrsinifolia plants over a seven-year time period. In addition, we registered flowering as well as rust damage in the leaves. From the first year and throughout ontogenetic development from juvenile to adult phases, there was no significant change in the concentrations of any of the studied compounds in the leaves of S. myrsinifolia. In the stems, the concentrations of six out of 43 identified compounds decreased slightly with age, which may be partly explained by dilution caused by the increment in stem diameter with age. The fairly steady chemistry level over seven years, accompanied by moderate genotypic phenolic variation, indicates important roles of chemical defenses against herbivory for this early-successional species.