Silicon accumulation in wood varies across taxa, with relationships to wood traits as yet unclear.

Cooke, Julia (2019). Silicon accumulation in wood varies across taxa, with relationships to wood traits as yet unclear. In: British Ecological Society Annual General Meeting, 10-13 Dec 2019, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Abstract

Silicon (Si) accumulation in non-woody shoots and leaves is recognised as an important plant trait with some species accumulating >10% Si dry mass. The use of Si by leaves for defence against herbivory, a strengthening component, and to alleviate the impacts of diverse biotic and abiotic stresses is increasing well understood. There are strong phylogenetic patterns in shoot/leaf Si accumulation. New studies show Si is important in roots as a herbivore defence. However, we know little about the functions of Si accumulation in wood, despite the ecological, practical and commercial importance of this tissue. Recent papers and vintage reports suggest substantial interspecific variation in wood and bark Si concentration, but the significance of this variation is unclear. Using Si concentration and phytolith morphology in wood across taxa, purported functions for Si in wood are explored with taxonomic patterns and relationship to foliar Si and wood traits surprisingly weak.

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