Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Under favorable nutrition, accessions of the weedy barleygrass (Hordeum leporinum and H. glaucum) had a higher relative growth rate (RGR) than did accessions of cultivated barley (H. vulgare) or its wild progenitor (H. spontaneum). RGR was not positively correlated with the presumed level of soil fertility at the collection site of an accession either within or among species. RGR was reduced more strongly by low-P supply in the progenitor than in the crop or weed, indicating that selection of cultivars to grow in fertile soils had not reduced their potential to grow effectively under low-P conditions. Seed and embryo masses were more important than RGR in determining plant size. Relative differences among assessions in plant size declined with time, because (1) accessions with small seeds had a higher RGR, and (2) RGR of large-seeded accessions declined with time. Absolute growth rate correlated positively with leaf area and negatively with photosynthetic rate per unit leaf area. Under favorable nutrition, maximum photosynthetic rate correlated negatively with leaf length and therefore was higher in the weeds than in the crop or progenitor accessions. P absorption potential did not differ consistently among species but generally increased in response to P stress. Cultivars produced a few tall tillers, whereas weeds and progenitors produced many small tillers. The cultivar had a larger proportion of reproductive tillers, allocated a larger proportion of biomass to grain, and produced larger grains than did the weedy accession. By contrast, the weed began maturing seeds sooner, produced more reproductive tillers, and produced more grains per car and per plant than did the cultivar. The study suggests two major conclusions: (1) A low RGR is not an adaptation to low P supply in annual Hordeum species. (2) Seed size is the major determinant of early plant size between accessions in these Hordeum species under favorable nutrition. However, large seed size indirectly results in a low RGR because of the inverse relationship between plant size and RGR and results in a low photosynthetic rate because of the inverse relationship between leaf size and photosynthesis.
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