Experiments / Orange Hawkweed

Time to grow some plants!

Today I started a small germination trial in the growth chamber to see how fast my Orange Hawkweed seeds will sprout. Hopefully they will grow fast so that I can start running some experiments on the plants soon. Here’s a little background on the plants that we are using for my experiments, and why they are a good model for answering some of our questions:

I have chosen to study the rhizosphere microbiota associated with Orange hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca (L.) F.W.Schultz & Schultz-Bip) formerly known as Hieracium aurantiacum L. It is a perennial herb of the family Asteraceae with a fibrous root system and it reproduces both through production of clonal stolons and apomictic seeds (Bicknell et al. 1997).

The fact that P.aurantiaca is an apomictic plant with very little genetic variance (Loomis and Fishman 2009) allows us to compare the microbiota in plants where variance is mostly based on environmental effects and events in the plant’s life instead of genetic differences among individuals. P.aurantiaca is also a good model plant because it is fast growing its fibrous roots are easy to pull out of the soil without breaking them, and they are easily distinguished from roots of surrounding vegetation.

P.aurantiaca is also considered an invasive species of concern in BC according to the Crop Protection Program at the Ministry of Agriculture. Therefore, research around the ecology of this specific plant species could be of interest to other parts trying to determine its ecology and how to manage its invasiveness.

References:

Loomis, E.S. and Fishman, L., 2009, A Continent‐Wide Clone: Population Genetic Variation of the Invasive Plant Hieracium aurantiacum (Orange Hawkweed; Asteraceae) in North America, International Journal of Plant Sciences, 170 (6),  759–765.

Bicknell, R.A., 1997, Isolation of a diploid, apomictic plant of Hieracium aurantiacum, Sexual Plant Reproduction, 10:168–172

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