Ecology and phenotypic variation of leitneria floridana (Leitneriaceae) in disjunct native habitats

Jyotsna Sharma, James A. Schrader, William R. Graves

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Abstract

Leitneria floridana is a rare woody species with a disjunct distribution in the southeastern and south-central United States. Although the distribution of L. floridana is well established, little is known about the comparative biology of its disjunct populations or the factors contributing to its rarity. We studied populations of L. floridana in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Florida to characterize and compare population density, habitat, ecophysiology, morphology, and growth. Our results show that plants of the Missouri provenance are the most unique phenotypically, plants in Texas are the fastest growing, and plants in Arkansas seem particularly adapted to shade. We found that L. floridana grows in chemically and physically diverse soils and under a broad range of insolation. Soil moisture content appears to be the most important environmental factor governing the occurrence of L. floridana, with soil moisture and distribution density positively correlated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalCastanea
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

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