Traits plasticity of Sodom Apple (Calotropis procera) along the environmental gradient in the semi-arid environment

Front Plant Sci. 2023 Feb 8;13:1047632. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.1047632. eCollection 2022.


Biomass and morphological characteristics of plant species provide essential insight into how well a species adapts to its environment. The study aims to evaluate how environmental variables (viz., altitude, slope, aspect degree, and soil properties) influence the morphological traits and biomass variability of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton in a semi-arid environment. C. procera sample locations were divided into 39 permanent sites (5×5 = 25 m2). Slope, aspect degree, slope aspect, altitude, and soil variables (soil moisture, organic matter, nitrogen (N %), and phosphorus (P) gradients were used to quantify morphological parameters (height, diameters, canopy area, volume, and leave/branch biomass) and aboveground biomass. Environmental variables, i.e., altitude and aspect degree, were the most important factor influencing the biomass variation and affecting soil moisture content; however, they did not directly affect the total biomass of the species. The results also reveal significant plasticity in morphological traits exists concerning elevation and aspect degree at (p< 0.05). Plant volume was a better indicator of species’ total biomass revealed from the regression model showing significant at p< 0.05. The study also reveals that soil properties such as soil moisture and Phosphorus have an important role in enhancing the productivity of the studied plant species. The results concluded that plants functional traits and biomass shows significant variation across the altitude and these parameters could be consider in the conservation of this native species.

PMID:36844907 | PMC:PMC9945254 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2022.1047632


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