Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We studied the effects of natural wounding by insects and artificial wounding by clipping with scissors on the phenolic chemistry of two willows, Salix myrsinifolia and Salix pentandra. Half of the blade of a mature leaf was removed from each experimental plant either by allowing insects (chrysomellid beetles) to feed on the leaf or by clipping off half the blade of a leaf with scissors. We also examined the ability of wounded plants to warn neighboring plants of imminent wounding by an airborne signal by maintainign one set of control plants in the room containing the wounded plants and another set of control plants in a room hermetically sealed from the room containing the wounded plants. After 48 h, the experimental leaf and the fourth leaf and eighth leaf upwards in the leaf sequence from the experimental leaf were analyzed for phenols by high-pressure liquid chromatography. The same leaves in the leaf sequence from each control plant were similarly analyzed for phenols. Only one phenol, salicortin in leaves of S. myrsinifolia, increased in concentration in response to defoliation, and the observed response was small. The type of wounding affected this increase in salicortin, with natural wounding by insects causing a greater response than artificial wounding in one S. myrsinifolia clone, and artificial wounding causing a greater response than insect wounding in the other clone. This result indicates that S. myrsinifolia cannot control the effects of diffeeent types of wounding on its leaf secondary chemistry. We also found no indication of airborne warning signals between wounded and unwounded plants that trigger an elevation of leaf defenses in unwounded plants in anticipation of herbivore attack.
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