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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Aerenchyma development in native warm-season grass cultivars
Year: 2002
Author(s): Skinner, H. R., Zobel, R. W., Skaradek, W.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Third Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 48-52
Original Publication:  
Abstract: The primary objective of this study was to determine the suitability of selected warm season grass species/cultivars for use in riparian buffers where flooding can be expected. This study focused on the development of aerenchyma in the roots of plants placed under flooding compared with non-flooding conditions. One-year old plants from 26 cultivars representing six native warm-season species (big bluestem, 8 cultivars; little bluestem, 1 cultivar; switchgrass, 9 cultivars; indiangrass, 5 cultivars; prairie cordgrass, 1 cultivar; and eastern gamagrass, 2 cultivars) were transplanted into 15-cm diameter by 120-cm deep PVC pots and grown under well-drained or waterlogged conditions. After approximately 100 d, pots were opened and root samples collected for root length distribution and aerenchyma formation determinations. Aspects of aerenchyma development was schizogenic (typical of constitutive aerenchyma) or lysigenic (characteristic of facultative aerenchyma which usually develop after stress initiation). Cultivars with limited aerenchyma development always had poor root growth in saturated soils. Conversely, cultivars with extensive aerenchyma development usually, but not always, had better than average root growth under anaerobic conditions. Suitable plant materials for inclusion in riparian buffers were found among five of the six warm-season species examined, although some species, such as eastern gamagrass, appeared to be more likely than others, such as big bluestem, to provide cultivars that were tolerant of anaerobic soils.
Publisher: The North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC, October 1-3, 2002. Omnipress, Madison, WI
Editor(s): J. Randall