Intraspecific variation in production of astringent phenolics over a vegetation-resource availability gradient

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The chemical constituency of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.) and red maple (Acer rubrum L.) foliage was analyzed over a species compositional gradient to test the hypothesis that over subtle gradients of moisture and nutrient availability production of phenolic compounds will be increased on sites of greatest stress. Calcium and nitrogen concentrations declined along the gradient in both species, while phosphorus showed a significant decline only in red maple. Lignin concentrations in both species were unrelated to the vegetation gradient, but astringent phenolics increased by 156% and 159% in dogwood and red maple, respectively. The correlation between production of polyphenolds and site quality supports previous observations that under conditions of environmental stress production of many secondary compounds is increased, and suggests that this relationship is significant over subtle environmental gradients.


"This investigation (No. 86-8-104) is connected with a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the director. This is publication no. 10 of Lilley Cornett Woods: Appalachian Research Station of Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky." (p. 211)