Morphological and physiological responses to freezing were evaluated in two ecotypes of the perennial turfgrass Paspalum vaginatum. Leaf extension rate, number of active meristems, leaf water potential and net photosynthesis were measured on plants of both a commercial cultivar, 'Sea Isle 2000', and a wild ecotype from the Flooding Pampa grasslands of Argentina. Plants were propagated by cloning, cultivated in pots, and examined during 18 consecutive days under two treatments: a non-frozen control treatment (15.5±7 ºC) and a frozen treatment with two stages: Stage 1 with four hours of freezing stress for 10 nights (-5ºC), and Stage 2 with 12 hours of freezing stress for eight nights (five nights at -5ºC and three nights at -8ºC). After these treatments, plants were returned to the outside environment to evaluate shoot injury and post-freezing recovery. Leaf water potential, net photosynthesis and leaf extension rate were significantly higher in the wild ecotype than in the commercial cultivar. Meristem density was reduced after freezing in both ecotypes, but was more pronounced in the commercial cultivar (98.5%) than in the wild ecotype (80%). Thus, the two ecotypes coming from different environments, exhibited different morphological and physiological responses to exposure to freezing temperatures.
Chromosome numbers were counted in 126 new accessions of 50 Paspalum species from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. The chromosome numbers 2n=12, 20, 24, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 were confirmed. Chromosome numbers for P. arenarium (2n=20), P. barretoi (2n=20), P. aff. ceresia (2n=40), P. corcovadense (2n=20), P. crispulum (2n=20), P. flaccidum (2n=40), P. nummularium (2n=20), P. scalare (2n=20), P. vescum (2n=20) and P. rectum (2n=20) and a diploid cytotype of P. malacophyllum are reported for the first time. The predominance of tetraploid accessions (43.6%) was confirmed, but an unusually high number of diploid species (44%) and accessions (35.7%) was found. These results open new perspectives for breeding programs, phylogenetic studies, and for research on apomixis control, since diploids of Paspalum are typically sexual.
O número cromossômico foi determinado para 126 novos acessos de 50 espécies de Paspalum do Brasil, Argentina, Paraguai e Bolívia. Foram verificados os números somáticos 2n=12, 20, 24, 30, 40, 50, 60 e 80. Estas são as primeiras contagens para P. arenarium (2n=20), P. barretoi (2n=20), P. aff. ceresia (2n=40), P. corcovadense (2n=20), P. crispulum (2n=20), P. flaccidum (2n=40), P. nummularium (2n=20), P. scalare (2n=20), P. vescum (2n=20) e P. rectum (2n=20). O nível diplóide (2n=20) é reportado pela primeira vez para P. malacophyllum. Os dados confirmam a predominância de acessos tetraplóides (43,6%) no gênero e mostram um número incomumente elevado de espécies (44%) e acessos diplóides (35,7%). Estes resultados trazem novas perspectivas para programas de melhoramento, para estudos filogenéticos e para pesquisa orientada ao controle da apomixia, já que em Paspalum as plantas diplóides são tipicamente sexuais.