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Name: Mansi
Status: student
Grade: other
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: India
Date: Spring 2012


Question:
What is the period between 2 reproductive phase of a perennial plant called? What happens in this phase?does plant after reproductive phase re-enters vegetative phase in perennial plants?



Replies:
Right, the question is ambiguous. Perhaps referring to vegetative and reproductive periods in plants? Of course, this all depends upon the plant species in question, and different for ferns and mosses (alternation of generations) vs. angiosperms and gymnosperms. The following might be helpful to the individual:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1514428

http://www.nios.ac.in/srsec314newE/PDFBIO.EL19.pdf

NEWTON BBS Ask A Scientist service receives about 200-300 requests per day. If you did not receive an answer it could be due to one of the following reasons:

Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D. Harvard University Herbaria c/o Missouri Botanical Garden


Dear Mansi,

An explicit terminology has not been established to describe the period between reproductive phases of a perennial plant. The closest word would merely be “vegetative.” One possible reason for the absence is that plant researchers view the different growth phases at a level below that of the whole plant or to put it another way, many plant researchers recognize the developmental plasticity of reproductively-competent perennial plants.

Although you and I might say that a maple tree flowers in spring, at the individual shoot level, whether a terminal reproductive meristem, or an indeterminate vegetative meristem has been induced and initiated depends on seasonally changing environmental factors (usually temperature and day length) as well as the position of an axillary (branch) meristem relative to the main shoot meristem. Obviously, a perennial tree will not have all of its shoots produce terminal inflorescences like many annual plants, nor can it repeatedly produce only vegetative meristems annually and deny the opportunity for sexual reproduction but most perennial trees seek some balance of both meristem types. Hence, even during a reproductive phase, there is vegetative growth. A paper that describes some of these molecular signaling events can be found in The Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA doi:10.1073/pnas.1104713108.

Regards, Jim Tokuhisa, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Horticulture Department Virginia Tech



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