Knowledge of Palmer amaranth biology and physiology is essential for the development of effective weed management systems. The aim of this study was to investigate the response of Palmer amaranth gender to nutrient deficiency and light stress. Differential gender responses were observed for all the growth, phenology, and photochemistry parameters measured. Female plants, for example, invested more in height, stem, and total dry weight, whereas male plants invested more in leaf area and leaf dry weight. The growth rate of females was higher than that of male Palmer amaranth plants, although both followed similar declining trends as the experimental period progressed. Initiation of flowering of female plants occurred 6 to 8 d earlier compared with male plants. Nitrogen and to a certain extent phosphorous were the most influential nutrients that affected measured parameters in both Palmer amaranth genders, particularly under high light intensity. Electron transport rate and chlorophyll content of female Palmer amaranth plants compared with male plants was lower at high light intensity in combination with nitrogen and phosphorous deficiencies. There is a potential to manipulate Palmer amaranth population structure by altering microenvironments at the field level.
Nomenclature: Palmer amaranth, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats.