Leaf habit influences nitrogen remobilization in Vaccinium species

Gwen-Aelle Grelet, Ian James Alexander, M. F. Proe, J. S. Frossard, P. Millard

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of N supply on plant growth and leaf demography of a deciduous and an evergreen Ericaceae was studied in relation to their internal cycling of N. Mature ramets of Vaccinium myrtillus (deciduous) and Vaccinium vitis-idaea (evergreen) were established in sand culture for 1 year with an adequate supply of a balanced nutrient solution. During one growing season, the plants were given two levels of N supply enriched with N-15 and eight sequential destructive harvests were taken. Recovery of unlabelled N in the new shoot was used to determine the remobilization of N from storage. Initially, growth was unaffected by N supply. After May, High N enhanced growth for both species but the nature of their growth response differed. For both species, new shoot biomass and leaf number increased but root biomass production was affected for V. myrtillus only. Whole plant biomass production was similar for both species under High N, but was greater for V. vitis-idaea under Low N. The amount of N remobilized to support new shoot growth was similar for the two species and was independent of N current supply. N was remobilized predominantly from previous year leaves for V. vitis-idaea and from previous year stems and roots for V. myrtillus. The contribution of remobilization to new shoot N was similar for the two species, but depended on N supply. Remobilization was faster in V. myrtillus, but lasted longer in V. vitis-idaea. The results are discussed in relation to species growth in N-poor environments, focusing on the extent to which species-differences in the dynamic of N remobilization and growth may explain their adaptation to constant and/or changeable N supply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1002
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number358
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Vaccinium myrtillus
  • Vaccinium vitis-idaea
  • deciduous
  • evergreen
  • heathlands
  • internal cycling of nitrogen
  • sub-Arctic environment
  • nutrient-use
  • Southern-California
  • decidious shrubs
  • growth
  • storage
  • plants
  • resorption
  • leaves


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