Buds, bushfires and resprouting in the eucalypts.

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Eucalypts encounter a wide range of severe disturbances such as extensive defoliation by insects, major structural damage from cyclonic winds, as well as foliage and bark loss during drought and fire. Most healthy, mature eucalypts are not killed by these events but regenerate vegetatively. With increasing intensity of disturbance resprouting first occurs from the accessory buds in the small diameter branchlets of the crown, followed by the epicormic buds in the larger diameter branches and stems, and then from the buds of the lignotuber. All these modes of regeneration are ultimately dependent on preventitious buds and thus this review concentrates on axillary buds, their subsequent development into epicormic or lignotuber buds and their degree of protection from fire.The eucalypts have remarkably abundant, well protected and anatomically distinctive bud-forming structures in their leaf axils, branches, stems and lignotubers. These structures are quite consistent across this large genus but are generally different to resprouting structures in many other plants. From an anatomical perspective these structures seem best adapted to regeneration after fire, rather than damage from insects, storms or drought and this also correlates with ecological observations. On a worldwide basis the eucalypts are some of the most successful post-fire resprouters, especially epicormic resprouting after higher intensity fires. Recent phylogenetic analysis indicates a long relationship between eucalypts, fire and bud structures that facilitate resprouting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of Botany
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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