Multiple Plantago Species (Plantaginaceae) Modify Floral Reflectance and Color in Response to Thermal Change

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth P. Lacey, Professor (Creator)
Scott J. Richter, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: • Premise of the study: Understanding how plant reproduction responds to temperature has become increasingly important because of global climate change. Temperature-sensitive plasticity in floral reflectance is likely involved in some of these responses. Such plasticity, which underlies thermoregulatory ability, affects reproductive success in Plantago lanceolata. To see whether other Plantago species also show thermal plasticity in reflectance, we measured plasticity in P. lagopus, P. coronopus, P. major, P. subulata, P. albicans, P. tomentosa, P. maritima, and P. weldenii.• Methods: We induced plants to flower at two temperatures in growth chambers and recorded floral reflectance (362–800 nm).• Key results: All species were thermally plastic in visible and near-IR regions. Species and populations differed in response. Some showed greater variation in reflectance at warm temperature, while the reverse was true for others. Plasticity was greatest in the P. lanceolata clade. Cosmopolitan species were not more plastic than were geographically restricted species.• Conclusions: The data suggest that (1) thermal plasticity is an ancestral trait for Plantago, (2) plasticities in visible and near-IR regions have evolved along different pathways within the genus, and (3) phylogenetic history partially explains this evolutionary divergence. Our data combined with those of previous studies suggest that global climate change will modify floral reflectance and color in many plant species. These modifications are likely to affect plant reproductive success.

Additional Information

American Journal of Botany
Language: English
Date: 2013
flower color, global warming, phenotypic plasticity, Plantaginaceae, Plantago, reflectance, temperature

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