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1 March 2012 Methods of Belowground Movement in Erythronium americanum
Jack T. Tessier
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As the climate changes, plants will need to respond to new environmental scenarios to survive. Belowground movements are one way in which plants respond to lethal temperatures. Plants use various methods to control belowground movements, notably contractile roots and droppers. I monitored populations of Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily) for contractile roots and documented the capacity of both annual corm growth and droppers to move the corm deeper in the soil. There was no evidence of contractile roots. While both corm growth and droppers lowered the corms, droppers provided for greater movement. Shallower corms produced longer droppers, and the average depth of a new corm formed from a dropper was consistent among corms of various original depths. Erythronium americanum can, therefore, use droppers to control corm depth, thus providing it a mechanism with which to escape potentially dangerous soil temperatures.

Jack T. Tessier "Methods of Belowground Movement in Erythronium americanum," Northeastern Naturalist 19(sp6), 77-88, (1 March 2012).
Published: 1 March 2012
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