Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Genetic and environmental influences on cold hardiness of native and introduced riparian trees

January 1, 2012

To explore latitudinal genetic variation in cold hardiness and leaf phenology, we planted a common garden of paired collections of native and introduced riparian trees sampled along a latitudinal gradient. The garden in Fort Collins, Colorado (latitude 40.6°N), included 681 native plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides subsp. monilifera) and introduced saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima, T. chinensis, and hybrids) collected from 15 sites from 29.2 to 47.6°N in the central United States. In the common garden, both species showed latitudinal variation in fall, but not spring, leaf phenology. This suggests that latitudinal gradient field observations in fall phenology are a result, at least in part, of the inherited variation in the critical photoperiod. Conversely, the latitudinal gradient field observations in spring phenology are largely a plastic response to the temperature gradient. Populations from higher latitudes exhibited earlier bud set and leaf senescence. Cold hardiness varied latitudinally in both fall and spring for both species. Although cottonwood was hardier than saltcedar in midwinter, the reverse was true in late fall and early spring. The latitudinal variation in fall phenology and cold hardiness of saltcedar appears to have developed as a result of multiple introductions of genetically distinct populations, hybridization, and natural selection in the 150 years since introduction.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2012
Title Genetic and environmental influences on cold hardiness of native and introduced riparian trees
DOI
Authors Jonathan M. Friedman, James E. Roelle, Brian S. Cade
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70194384
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center