Seedlings of six provenances of Atlantic white cedar [Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P.] (Escambia Co., Ala., Santa Rosa Co., Fla., Wayne Co., N.C., Burlington Co., N.J., New London Co., Conn., and Barnstable Co., Mass.) were grown in controlled-environment chambers for 12 weeks under 16-hour photoperiods with 16-hour days/8-hour nights of 22/18 °C, 26/22 °C, 30/26 °C, 34/30 °C or 38/34 °C. Considerable variation in height, foliage color, and overall plant size was observed among plants from the various provenances. Seedlings from the two most northern provenances (Massachusetts and Connecticut) were most heat sensitive as indicated by decreasing growth rates at temperature regimes >22/18 °C. In contrast, plants from New Jersey and the three southern provenances (North Carolina, Florida, and Alabama) exhibited greater heat tolerance as indicated by steady or increasing growth rates and greater top and root dry weights as temperature regimes increased above 22/18 °C. Growth rates of seedlings from the four aforementioned provenances decreased rapidly at temperature regimes >30/26 °C suggesting low species tolerance to high temperatures. There were no significant differences in seedling dry matter production among provenances when temperature regimes were ≥34/30 °C. Net shoot photosynthesis and dark respiration of plants did not vary by provenance; however, net photosynthesis was temperature sensitive and decreased at temperature regimes >26/22 °C. Foliar respiration rates increased as temperature increased from 22/18 °C to 26/22 °C, but then remained relatively constant or decreased at higher temperature regimes. Plants at temperatures ≥34/30 °C exhibited severe stunting, chlorosis, and necrosis on branch tips. However, tissue concentrations of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, and Mn generally increased with temperature regimes >30/26 °C indicating that mineral nutrient concentration was not a limiting factor at high temperatures.
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