598 Drought Stress Affects Carbohydrate Partitioning in Three Species of Herbaceous Perennials

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0375
  • | 2 Dept. of Floriculture and Orn. Hort, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Drought stress durations of 2, 4, and 6 days were imposed on Boltonia asteroides `Snowbank', Eupatorium rugosum, and Rudbeckia triloba to determine the effects on carbohydrate partitioning in the plant. Drought stress was imposed on 19 Sept. 1997 on 1.9-L containerized plants. Plants were planted in the field the day following release from stress. Crown and leaf samples of the three species were collected 21, 23, 25 Sept. 1997 and 30 Jan. and 4 May 1998 and were analyzed for low molecular weight sugars and fructans. The species differed in the time it took for longer chain fructans to break down to shorter chain fructans and low molecular weight sugars (glucose, fructose). The drought tolerant Boltonia and Rudbeckia had shifts from longer chain to shorter chain fructans by day 4 of stress. Boltonia had a change in carbohydrate partitioning in the leaf tissue, while Rudbeckia had a change in crown tissue carbohydrate partitioning. Eupatorium did not have a shift in longer chain fructans to shorter chain fructans in crown tissue until day six of stress. The slower shift from longer chain fructans to shorter chain fructans by Eupatorium, compared to Boltonia and Rudbeckia, could explain the lack of drought tolerance of Eupatorium. The shift from high molecular weight sugars to low molecular weight sugars suggests that the higher molecular weight sugars broke down to lower molecular weight sugars in response to drought stress.

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