Glaucium flavum Crantz. is a short-lived perennial herb distributed in coastal zones from the Black Sea to southern, western and north-western Europe. Despite its diminishing area of distribution and potential pharmacological value, little is known about the ecophysiological features of this coastal species. We investigated the photosynthetic performance of G. flavum by measuring gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, photosynthetic pigment concentration and leaf water content over the space of a year in a coastal habitat of SW Spain. We also measured the variation in total concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur, potassium, calcium and magnesium, in the leaves and soil, throughout the study period. G. flavum showed a high resistance to summer drought conditions which appeared to be due to the high degree of stomatal control. The potential photochemical efficiency of photosystem II showed minimum values during the winter, indicating that low temperatures can produce negative effects within the photosynthetic apparatus. However, the marked decline in net photosynthesis during the winter seems to be mainly related to a loss of metabolic activity. Although leaf nutrient concentrations were, in general, within the normal ranges, phosphorus availability seems to be limited by the high calcium concentrations detected in the soil of the study site. Our study points out the efficiency of the different physiological adaptations of this rare and endangered coastal species in coping with the strong seasonal variability of the Mediterranean climate.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: May 24, 2014
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