Variation in basal sprouting in co‐occurring shrubs: implications for stand dynamics

Robert C. Flinn, Charles J. Scifres, Steven R. Archer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Abstract. Sources of basal sprouting for five shrub species representing five plant families common to the Tamaulipan biotic province were quantified, following four intensities of top removal. Among undisturbed shrubs, Celtis pallida and Zanthoxylum fagara were somewhat arborescent, with one or two dominant primary stems per plant. Aloysia gratissima, Ziziphus obtusifolia and Schaefferia cuneifolia were fruticose in architecture, with more and smaller stems. Following top removal, each species exhibited a distinct regenerative hierarchy whereby shoot production following disturbance was primarily from structures immediately subtending the removed tissues, even though more distal tissues had the capacity for shoot production. Thus, removal of stems to a 5 cm residual increased the contribution of primary stems from stem bases, whereas stem removal to ground line typically induced regeneration from root crowns. Schaefferia, Zanthoxylum and Ziziphus were capable of producing shoots from root tissue, yet regeneration from roots was not stimulated until tissues were removed to below root crowns. Field observations indicate that most woody species in the subtropical thorn woodlands of southern Texas, USA, are highly persistent in the face of natural and anthropogenic disturbance, owing to their ability to regenerate vegetatively. Alternative sources of stem replacement contribute to the high resilience of these shrubs following disturbance and may help explain or predict patterns of secondary succession and plant persistence following various intensities of disturbance. 1992 IAVS ‐ the International Association of Vegetation Science

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-128
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992


  • Disturbance
  • Resilience
  • Root sprouting
  • Succession
  • Texas
  • Thorn woodland
  • Vegetative regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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