Habitat selection in a clonal plant

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Science  03 May 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4699, pp. 603-604
DOI: 10.1126/science.3983647


Rhizomatous growth may permit the nonrandom placement of ramets into different environments, but whether clonal plants are able to use this means to exercise adaptive habitat choice is not known. Western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya) plants are shown to preferentially colonize nonsaline soil over saline soil patches, and clones with the strongest preference for nonsaline soil are those least able to grow when restricted to saline conditions. In clonal plant species, nonrandom associations of genotypes with specific environments may thus reflect habitat selection by plants as well as selective mortality imposed by different habitat patches.