Genotypic and environmental variation in Aster tripolium L. was studied in common garden experiments and in transplantation experiments in different saltmarsh sites along the estuarine gradient of the Westerschelde and along the elevation gradient of individual saltmarshes. Analysis of the variation in a number of morphologic characters of the inflorescences indicated that this variation is both environmentally as well as genetically controlled. Morphologic differences between an Aster tripolium population of a brackish marsh and a number of populations of a saline marsh were unchanged whether the plants were growing in their original habitat or in a transplant habitat. The population from the brackish marsh had smaller inflorescences with ray florets and a predominantly biennial life cycle, in contrast with the populations of the saline marsh, which had larger inflorescences usually without or with a few ray florets and showed a tendency to a perennial life cycle. We concluded that the variation between the populations of the saline and the brackish marsh is mainly genetically controlled, while the variation within the saline marsh is mainly environmentally controlled. [KEYWORDS: Aster tripolium; saltmarsh; genotypic variation; environmental variation]
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Biology
Journal publication date2000

ID: 256219