Male and Female Plants of Salix viminalis Perform Similarly to Flooding in Morphology, Anatomy, and Physiology
Salix viminalis L., a dioecious species, is widely distributed in riparian zones, and flooding is one of the most common abiotic stresses that this species suffers. In this study, we investigated the morphological, anatomical, and physiological responses of male vs. female plants of S. viminalis to flooding. The results showed that the plant height and root collar diameter were stimulated by flooding treatment, which corresponded with higher dry weight of the stem and leaf. However, the dry
... owever, the dry weight of the underground part decreased, which might be due to the primary root having stopped growing. The little-influenced net photosynthesis rate (Pn) under flooding treatment could guarantee rapid growth of the aboveground part, while the unaffected leaf anatomical structure and photosynthetic pigment contents could ensure the normal operation of photosynthetic apparatus. Under a flooding environment, the production ratio of superoxide free radical (O2∙-) and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents increased, indicating that the cell membrane was damaged and oxidative stress was induced. At the same time, the antioxidant enzyme system, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and osmotic adjustment substances, involving proline (Pro) and solute protein (SP), began to play a positive role in resisting flooding stress. Different from our expectation, the male and female plants of S. viminalis performed similarly under flooding, and no significant differences were discovered. The results indicate that both male and female plants of S. viminalis are tolerant to flooding. Thus, both male and female plants of S. viminalis could be planted in frequent flooding zones.