A study of the variation and ecology of Rumex acetosella L. sensu latus.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
What follows is the consequence of a very simple observation – “Rumex acetosella occurs in a wide range of habitats and its forms varies considerably between these different habitats.” The approach to the elucidation of this observation has been deliberately broad. For convenience of presentation the study has been divided into three groups. In the first part data is presented measuring the range of phenotypic expression shown y by R. acetosella as this is recorded from field collections in New Zealand and herbarium material encompassing the entire range of the species complex. These data are viewed in conjunction with observations on the morphology of populations grown in the experimental garden at Ilam, Christchurch. Attempts are made to correlate the phenotypic and genotypic components of variation with crudely defined environmental parameters of the collection sites. The data of the first part are examined in reference to the taxonomy of the species complex. In the second part the results of a series of experiments examining physiological aspects of variation in R.acetosella are presented. The gross – external morphology of the leaf has been stressed as a measurement of the response to environmental factors. The third part includes experiments conveniently defined as investigations into the ecology of the species complex. Particular emphasis is placed on studies of the competitive interactions of R.acetosella with Lolium and Trifolium repens based on the de Wit (1960) model of plant competition for the same space.