Field trials investigated the effect of provenance on the establishment of Lotus corniculatus at a limestone quarry re-creation site. Cuttings were collected from two habitats (calcareous and non-calcareous) within 15 regions in the British Isles. Two ramets of each plant were propagated and planted in untreated (bare clay substrate) and treated plots (with topsoil). We investigated the effect of geographical and ecological distance on plant survival, size and fecundity. Local plants had greatest survival on the treated plots although this was not the case on the untreated plots where other provenances also performed well. In addition, there was a significant, albeit very weak, negative relationship between survival and geographical distance on the treated plots and plant size and fecundity on the untreated plots. In contrast, the effect of ecological distance was only significant for plant size on the untreated plot; plants from more ecologically distant populations were larger and more fecund. This result was unexpected and may reflect adaptations amongst chalk grassland ecotypes (e.g. dwarfing) to extreme conditions (e.g. drought). Cyanogenesis, which has previously been linked to aspects of plant fitness, was not shown to have an effect on plant performance. In conclusion, this study suggests that there are regional differences between populations of L. corniculatus which may affect the performance of plants in re-creation schemes. Ecological provenance may also influence the fitness of plants when translocated. However, there was no evidence to support a consistent home-site advantage of local genotypes. Further long-term studies on a range of species are necessary.
- Ecological distance
- Geographical distance
- Local adaptation
- Restoration ecology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation