decline of Arnica montana
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract A greenhouse experiment was carried out to determine whether the decline of Arnica montana L. in heathland vegetation in the Netherlands could be caused by a detrimental effect of soil acidification on vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza of this species. Arnica montana and two non-declining species from the same habitat, Hieracium pilosella L. and Deschampsia flexuosa (L.) Trin., were grown with and without the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungus Glomus fasciculatum (Thaxter sensu Gerdemann) Gerd. and Trappe in pots with an extremely nutrient-poor, sandy soil. They were percolated weekly with nutrient solution with different pH values, viz. 5.5, 4.5, 3.5 and 2.5. At intervals of three weeks and up to 12 weeks, measurements were made on growth, nutrient uptake and VAM infection. In the most acid treatments growth and nutrient uptake were reduced in all species. VAM infection decreased only slightly with decreasing pH of the treatments. Without VAM, Arnica montana died and Hieracium pilosella hardly grew at the most acid treatments. Therefore it is concluded that VAM decreased the stress caused by the most acid treatments. Leachate from the most acid treatment had a pH of approximately 4, and contained considerable amounts of aluminium, dissolved from the solid phase of the soil. This might have played a role in the detrimental effects on the plants in the case of the most acid treatment. No evidence was found in this experiment that the decline of Arnica montana was due to detrimental effects of soil acidification on VAM of this species.
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