The role of developmental stage in frost tolerance of Pinus pinea L. seedlings and saplings uri icon


  • Although drought is generally considered the main environmental constraint in Mediterranean environments, the ability to acclimate to and tolerate frost in early developmental stages can be a determinant for seedling survival of many Mediterranean tree species like stone pine (Pinus pinea L.).
  • Developmental changes during early plant growth seem to play a role in frost tolerance of stone pine seedlings, a finding which furthers our understanding of regeneration dynamics in this species in areas with continental influence.
  • LT tolerance displayed severe seasonal trends and differed between age classes. It usually increased with sapling age. Such differences were tightly related to heteroblasty of the shoots. Our results point to a higher LT tolerance associated with larger leaf dry mass per unit area (LMA) values. No impact of late frosts on shoot growth rates was detected during this study.
  • The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the developmental stage of naturally regenerated stone pine individuals on tolerance to low temperature (LT) from summer to late autumn and in spring, at a highly continental site in central Spain. Specifically, we tested to what extent the differences in tolerance are related to shoot heteroblasty.
  • We assessed LT tolerance of needles from individuals at three age classes (class C1: seedlings, class C2: 4- to 8-year-old saplings and class C3: > 9-year-old saplings) over nine dates from summer to spring.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014