Plant responses to heavy metal contamination may depend on the presence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Elsholtzia splendens is an indicator species for the presence of copper (Cu) mines because both its flowering phenology and reproduction are tolerant to heavy metals. To test whether effects of Cu on the flowering phenology and reproduction of E. splendens depend on the presence of AMF, we conducted a factorial experiment with two Cu treatments (with or without Cu addition) crossed with two AMF treatments (with or without AMF inoculation). Without AMF, Cu addition significantly delayed the onset dates, ending dates and peak dates of flowering and decreased flowering duration. However, AMF inoculation reversed the effects of Cu stress, with recovered flowering onset and ending dates and increased the flowering duration. Cu addition significantly decreased inflorescence width and number, inflorescence biomass, vegetative biomass and total seed number, but significantly increased 1000-seed weight. AMF inoculation significantly increased vegetative biomass. Two-way ANOVA results showed that the interactive effects between Cu addition and AMF inoculation were significant on the inflorescence number, vegetative biomass and total seed number. These results indicate that AMF can alleviate the Cu stress on the flowering phenology and reproduction of E. splendens.
Jin, Z., Li, J., & Li, Y. (2015). Interactive effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and copper stress on flowering phenology and reproduction of Elsholtzia splendens. PLoS ONE, 10(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0145793