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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Tessier, Jack T. [1].

No evidence of contractile roots in Erythronium americanum.

Erythronium americanum Ker Gawler is a spring ephemeral geophyte common to deciduous forests of the northeast United States. Its corms are typically 10 cm or more below the leaf litter, but it is unknown how those corms get so deep. Contractile roots, those that grow and then shrink pulling the corm down in the process, are the most likely mechanism because they are common in other members of the lily family. I monitored corms once per month from April to November 2009 in a northern hardwood forest and found no evidence of contractile roots. Larger corms had two sets of roots in the fall and early spring. One set was at the bottom of the corm (new roots) and the other set was on the side of the corm (old roots). These roots sets were 3.85 mm apart on average. On each corm with two sets of roots, there were on average 3.77 old roots with an average length of 10.67 mm, and on average 7.31 new roots with an average length of 15.61 mm. During the summer months, the corm grew below the location of the old roots, prior to the development of the new roots. These results suggest that corms of E. americanum can descend only a short distance each year, and only larger (and probably older corms) have this capacity.

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1 - SUNY Delhi, Liberal Arts and Sciences, 722 Evenden Tower, 2 Main St., Delhi, NY, 13753, USA

Erythronium americanum
contractile roots
below-ground movement.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 33
Location: 555B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 11:30 AM
Number: 33006
Abstract ID:20

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