Variability in photosynthetic rates and accumulated biomass among greenhouse-grown common cocklebur (xanthium strumarium) accessions

James J. Wassom, Andrew W. Knepp, Patrick J. Tranel, Loyd M. Wax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Common cocklebur is an adaptable and competitive weed with variable morphology. To learn how the rate of net photosynthesis (Pn) by common cocklebur relates to traits that may influence competitiveness, we compared Pn, accumulation of biomass (shoot mass, root mass, and total plant mass), and total leaf area among six accessions of common cocklebur grown in a greenhouse. There were highly significant (P ≤ 0.01) differences among accessions for all measured traits. Correlations of each measure of biomass with total leaf area were positive and highly significant, but correlations of Pn with each biomass measure and with total leaf area were negative. The negative correlations were largely a result of relatively low biomass accumulation by the two accessions with the highest Pn. This contrasted with results from a previous experiment on field-grown common cocklebur plants, in which the correlation of Pn with shoot mass was positive (r = 0.64). Despite the negative Pn-to- biomass correlations in the greenhouse study, the rank among accessions for Pn in the greenhouse was nearly the same as with the field-grown plants (Spearman rank correlation r = 0.89). We conclude that the relative Pn rates among common cocklebur accessions grown in the greenhouse may be used to predict their relative Pn rates in the field, but relationships of Pn with biomass or leaf area observed in the greenhouse may not be a reliable indicator of relationships in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-88
Number of pages5
JournalWeed Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotype
  • Competitiveness
  • Leaf area
  • Photosynthesis
  • Stomatal density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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