Seasonal Induction of Cluster Roots in Embothrium coccineum J.R. Forst. &| G. Forst. in the Field: Factors that Regulate their Development

Gabriel Donoso-Ñanculao1*, Mauricio Castro1, Darío Navarrete1, León A. Bravo1, and Luis J. Corcuera1

Embothrium coccineum J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. (Proteaceae) is a tree that grows successfully in nutrient poor soils of southern Chile at full sunlight. Under these conditions it develops cluster roots (CR). However, the induction of CR on this species has not been studied completely. The aim of this work was to study the effect of seasonality, soil and weeds in the development of CR in E. coccineum. The present study was performed in Los Lagos Region (41º72’ S lat), Chile. Plants of E. coccineum were grown in sandy soils in presence or absence of weeds, using two concentrations of organic matter. The number of CR per plant, CR mass and P concentration in leaves was measured during the four seasons in E. coccineum plants. The CR development in the soil with high organic matter concentration and without weeds was observed in autumn, spring and summer, and in the soil with low organic matter concentration was observed in autumn, winter and spring. Not found related of this result with the foliar P concentration in E. coccineum. The results suggest a strong seasonal and weeds effect on CR development in E. coccineum under field conditions.

Keywords: Embothrium coccineum, cluster roots, phosphorus deficiency, root development
1Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile. *Corresponding author (gabdonos@udec.cl).