Patterns of dormancy and florogenesis in herbaceous perennial plants: environmental and internal regulation

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Courtesy of Soil Science Society of America

Plant evolution in climatic areas with marked seasonal changes has led to species adaptation to periods of high and low temperatures and drought and to significant changes in their morphological structure and annual developmental cycles. One characteristic of these adaptations is the state of dormancy, in which the plants do not exhibit any visible external growth. This paper reviews dormancy and florogenesis as main components of the survival strategies of perennial herbaceous plants. Summer dormancy protects plants from negative effects of water deficit and high temperatures on vegetative and reproductive organs, and forces plant species to schedule their active development in more favorable seasons. Mechanisms of summer survival vary among species and provide different modes of adaptation to harsh environments. The interrelationship between florogenesis and dormancy is most probably controlled in meristems, where the survival strategy of the plant, including vegetative growth, flowering, drought tolerance, and formation of storage organs, is determined. Mechanisms by which summer dormancy confers summer drought survival warrant further investigation for improving agronomic and environmental traits of perennial plants.

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