Concept: Perennial plant
Megaherbivores (>1000 kg) are critical for ecosystem health and function, but face population collapse and extinction globally. The future of these megaherbivore-impoverished ecosystems is difficult to predict, though many studies have demonstrated increasing representation of C3 woody plants. These studies rely on direct observational data, however, and tools for assessing decadal-scale changes in African ecology without observation are lacking. We use isotopic records of historical common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) canines to quantify herbaceous vegetation change in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda following a period of civil unrest and poaching. This poaching event led to population collapse of two threatened African megaherbivore species: hippopotamus and African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Serial carbon isotope ratios (δ(13)C) in canine enamel from individuals that lived between 1960-2000 indicated substantial increases in C3 herbaceous plants in their diet (<20% C3 in the 1960s to 30-45% C3 in the 80s and 90s), supported by other observational and ecological data. These data indicate megaherbivore loss results in succession of both woody and herbaceous C3 vegetation and further reaching effects, such as decreased grazing capacity and herbivore biodiversity in the area. Given multiple lines of evidence, these individuals appear to accurately capture herbaceous vegetation change in Mweya.
Plants cannot change location to escape stressful environments. Therefore, plants evolved to respond and acclimate to diverse stimuli, including the seemingly innocuous touch stimulus [1-4]. Although some species, such as Venus flytrap, have fast touch responses, most plants display more gradual touch-induced morphological alterations, called thigmomorphogenesis [2, 3, 5, 6]. Thigmomorphogenesis may be adaptive; trees subjected to winds develop less elongated and thicker trunks and thus are less likely damaged by powerful wind gusts . Despite the widespread relevance of thigmomorphogenesis, the regulation that underlies plant mechanostimulus-induced morphological responses remains largely unknown. Furthermore, whether thigmomorphogenesis confers additional advantage is not fully understood. Although aspects of thigmomorphogenesis resemble ethylene effects , and touch can induce ethylene synthesis [9, 10], Arabidopsis ethylene response mutants show touch-induced thigmomorphogenesis ; thus, ethylene response is nonessential for thigmomorphogenesis. Here we show that jasmonate (JA) phytohormone both is required for and promotes the salient characteristics of thigmomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis, including a touch-induced delay in flowering and rosette diameter reduction. Furthermore, we find that repetitive mechanostimulation enhances Arabidopsis pest resistance in a JA-dependent manner. These results highlight an important role for JA in mediating mechanostimulus-induced plant developmental responses and resultant cross-protection against biotic stress.
Lavandula species are some of the most popular ornamental and medicinal plants with great economic values. These species are vegetative propagated by stem cuttings. However, the poor rooting ability and vulnerability of plantlets to contamination are major limiting factors for propagation. In vitro culture methods are suitable to overcome these limitations. This chapter describes protocols for in vitro propagation of Lavandula viridis L'Hér and Lavandula vera DC. Nodal shoot proliferation of L. viridis and plant regeneration from leaf-derived callus of L. vera by an “open culture system” are highlighted.
Helleborus genus, belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, has 20 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants. The commercial exploitation of this plant is dependent on the selection and propagation of appropriate lines. High propagation rate could be accomplished by using a suitable tissue culture method enabling the rapid introduction of valuable selections in the market. However, in vitro cultivation of Helleborus is still very difficult. Thereby the development of reliable in vitro propagation procedures is crucial for future production systems. Axillary buds cultured on agar-solidified Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with 1 mg/L benzyladenine, 0.1 mg/L β-naphthoxyacetic acid, and 2 mg/L isopentenyl adenine develop shoots after 16 weeks of culture under 16 h light regime, 50-60 μmol/s/m(2), and 19 ± 1°C. The multiplication rate ranges from 1.4 to 2.1. However, the genotype and the number of subcultures affect the efficiency of the micropropagation process. The rooting of shoots is about 80% in solidified MS medium containing 1 mg/L 1-naphthaleneacetic acid and 3 mg/L indole-3-butyric acid. The described protocol provides information which can contribute to the commercial production of Helleborus plants.
Asparagus officinalis is most extensively studied species within the genus Asparagus, which is well known as garden asparagus. This species is dioecious with unisexual flowers, which means that generative propagation gives roughly equal number of male and female plants. Male plants are high yielders and preferred commercially over female plants. Tissue culture techniques could efficiently promote vegetative propagation of male plants and pave the way for efficient plant breeding.This chapter describes an efficient micropropagation protocol for developing rapid growing in vitro Asparagus shoot cultures. The source of explants, inoculation, and shoot proliferation, followed by shoot propagation, rooting, and acclimatization is described. The optimal medium for Asparagus micropropagation described in this chapter is composed of MS macro- and microelements and a combination of auxins and cytokinins. Plant growth regulators NAA, kinetin, and BA were used in various concentrations. Three different media representing the whole micropropagation protocol of Asparagus are described; medium for shoot initiation, medium for shoot multiplication, and medium for root formation. By in vitro propagation of Asparagus, root initiation is difficult, but can be promoted by adding growth retardant ancymidol which also greatly promotes shoot development and suppresses callus formation.
Datura stramonium is an herbaceous annual plant. All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids such as atropine and scopolamine. We report the case of a 22-year-old man admitted to a general hospital for visual and aural hallucinations. One week after his admission, as the hallucinations remained, the patient was transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Neither blood nor urine was conserved during his hospitalization, so a hair analysis was requested in order to identify a possible consumption of a Datura seed infusion.
Global cerebral ischemia followed by reperfusion, leads to extensive neuronal damage, particularly the neurons in the hippocampal CA region. Recent studies have demonstrated that pharmacological agents, such as Nigella sativa L. (Ranunculaceae) that is an annual herbaceous flowering plant, given at the time of reperfusion afforded protection against ischemia, which is referred to as pharmacological post conditioning.
Historically, aphrodisiacs have had a reputation for making sex more achievable and satisfying. It has been long believed that Tribulus terrestris L. (TT), an annual plant of the family Zygophyllaceae, possesses aphrodisiac properties purportedly attributed to its ability to influence levels or mimic function of sex hormones. Due to this appealing beliefs, the popularity of medicinal products from TT is expanding at a remarkable pace among consumers who are attempting to enhance their sexual health. However, reliable scientific evidence supporting these purported bioactivities are scant and far from conclusive.
The composition of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) extensively impacts ecosystem functioning. It is vital that we understand temporal patterns in the plants' allocation of resources to PSMs, particularly those influenced by human activity. Existing data are insufficient in the long-term perspective of perennial plants (age or ontogeny). We analysed phenolic concentrations in foliage from birch (Betula pubescens Ehr.) considered to be undamaged and growing on 5, 10 and 15 years old clear-cuts in two boreal forest landscapes in Norway, sampled at the peak of the growing season. In sum, low molecular weight phenolic concentrations decreased with age. Apart from one apigenin glycoside, the low molecular weight phenolics co-varied similarly at all ages, suggesting a lack of temporal compound-specific prioritisation of this group. In contrast, the concentration of MeOH-soluble condensed tannins increased with age. The compositional shift fits well with several hypotheses that may provide proximate explanations for age patterns in PSM allocations, including both resource constraints and external pressures. Regardless of these explanations, our study adds an important perennial perspective (plant age) to temporal PSM patterns already well-known in boreal plant phenology (foliage age).
A large amount of radionuclides was released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) following the damage caused by the tsunami due to the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011. Although many radionuclides in various environmental samples around the FDNPS have been measured, (3)H in the terrestrial environment has not yet been reported. We present here the first survey results of (3)H concentrations in plant samples collected around the FDNPS in 2011 from shortly after the accident. The free-water (3)H concentrations in herbaceous plant shoots and evergreen tree leaves were considerably higher than the previous background concentration, and diminished with distance from the FDNPS. Although reconstruction of atmospheric (3)H concentrations after the accident is difficult, a rough estimate of the radiation dose due to (3)H inhalation about 20 km from the FDNPS is on the order of a few microsieverts (μSv).