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Title: Growth and reproductive characteristics of the columnar cactus Stenocereus queretaroensis and their relationships with environmental factors and colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizae
Author: Pimienta-Barrios, E.
Pimienta-Barrios, E.
Salas-Galvan, M.E.
Zanudo-Hernandez, J.
Nobel, P.S.
Issue Date: 2002
Abstract: Three natural populations of pitayo (Stenocereus queretaroensis (Weber) Buxbaum), a columnar arborescent cactus, were studied in their subtropical environments in western Mexico. All of the sites were characterized by shallow, nutrient-poor soils. Percentage of colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) fungi, stem growth, fruit mass, and percentage germination were greater in S. queretaroensis at Autlan, Jalisco (AJ) than at Zacoalco de Torres, Jalisco (ZTJ) or Santa Rosa, Zacatecas (SRZ). The onset of root colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizae during the middle of the summer wet period preceded increases in stem extension rate and stem phosphorus concentration. Based on previous studies of effects of environmental factors on photosynthesis, climatic conditions were more favorable for photosynthesis at AJ than at SRZ and ZTJ, as indicated by the amount of summer rainfall, the amount of light, and the moderate air temperatures that prevailed during the fall and winter seasons. There was a significant positive correlation between stem growth and percentage of total root length colonized by arbuscules of AM fungi for S. queretaroensis at SRZ and AJ, but not at ZTJ. A negative significant correlation was observed between stem growth and maximal and minimal air temperatures at the three study sites. Stem growth was positively related to rainfall only at SRZ, and light was statistically related to stem growth only at ZTJ. Among sites, S. queretaroensis at AJ had the highest carbon gain and greatest AM colonization, creating physiological conditions that led to the highest stem growth, fruit mass and percentage of seed germination.
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