Quantifying differences in plant architectural development between hybrid potato (Solanum tuberosum) plants grown from two types of propagules

Jiahui Gu*, Paul C. Struik, Jochem B. Evers, Narawitch Lertngim, Ruokai Lin, Steven M. Driever

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and Aims: Plants can propagate generatively and vegetatively. The type of propagation and the resulting propagule can influence the growth of the plants, such as plant architectural development and pattern of biomass allocation. Potato is a species that can reproduce through both types of propagation: through true botanical seeds and seed tubers. The consequences of propagule type on the plant architectural development and biomass partitioning in potatoes are not well known. We quantified architectural differences between plants grown from these two types of propagules from the same genotype, explicitly analysing branching dynamics above and below ground, and related these differences to biomass allocation patterns.
Methods: A greenhouse experiment was conducted, using potato plants of the same genotype but grown from two types of propagules: true seeds and seed tubers from a plant grown from true seed (seedling tuber). Architectural traits and biomass allocation to different organs were quantified at four developmental stages. Differences between true-seed-grown and seedling-tuber-grown plants were compared at the whole-plant level and at the level of individual stems and branches, including their number, size and location on the plant.
Key Results: A more branched and compact architecture was produced in true-seed-grown plants compared with seedling-tuber-grown plants. The architectural differences between plants grown from true seeds and seedling tubers appeared gradually and were attributed mainly to the divergent temporal–spatial distribution of lateral branches above and below ground on the main axis. The continual production of branches in true-seed-grown plants indicated their indeterminate growth habit, which was also reflected in a slower shift of biomass allocation from above- to below-ground branches, whereas the opposite trend was found in seedling-tuber-grown plants.
Conclusions: In true-seed-grown plants, lateral branching was stronger and determined whole-plant architecture and plant function with regard to light interception and biomass production, compared with seedling-tuber-grown plants. This different role of branching indicates that a difference in preference between clonal and sexual reproduction might exist. The divergent branching behaviours in true-seed-grown and seedling-tuber-grown plants might be regulated by the different intensity of apical dominance, which suggests that the control of branching can depend on the propagule type.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-378
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number2
Early online date14 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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