Eucalyptus regnans (Myrtaceae): a fire-sensitive eucalypt with a resprouter epicormic structure.

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Abstract

Determining the location and hence level of protection from heat given to the various buds of a plant is essential to understanding the response to fire. Most eucalypts resprout readily from the stem (epicormic resprouting) and the base after felling or high intensity fire. In contrast, Eucalyptus regnans is one of the few eastern Australian fire-sensitive, obligate seeder eucalypts. Some authors have suggested that the relatively weak epicormic resprouting is due to a lack of bud-forming structures. Epicormic strands from the bark and outer xylem of three very large trees and two saplings were examined anatomically. Epicormic bud-forming structures were found in all samples examined. The bud-forming capacity consisted of narrow, radially elongated strips of cells of meristematic appearance. These strips were continuous from the outermost secondary xylem through to the outer bark. Bark was relatively thick at the base of the large trees, but remarkably thin above this basal skirt. Eucalyptus regnans was found to possess the apparently fire-adapted epicormic strands previously described in other eucalypts, thus showing its fire-adapted linage. However, this fire-sensitive species apparently directs much of its resources to rapid height growth rates in younger trees, rather than vegetative fire survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-556
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume97
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

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