Morphological and phenological shifts in the Plantago lanceolata L. species as linked to climate change over the past 100 years

Svitlana Prokhorova 1  and Maksym Netsvetov
  • 1 Institute for Evolutionary Ecology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, , Kyiv, Ukraine


Herbarium collections have proven to be irreplaceable information base in recent studies directed towards revealing shifts in plants phenology and morphology caused by climate change. We examined eight parameters of morphological traits in the perennial herb species Plantago lanceolata L. collected in the wild between 1905 and 2019 and stored at the KW-herbarium (Kyiv, Ukraine) to find out if there were changes in plants’ organ sizes during the last 114 years. For this period, we also calculated 13 climatic parameters obtained from meteorological records from the State archive that gave us the opportunity to check if there are any relations between the climate change in Kyiv region and shifts in morphological parameters of plants. Our results have shown Plantago lanceolata leaf blades, petioles and spikes had become significantly longer with time, increasing 3.0 cm, 2.1 cm and 0.6 cm respectively. The Co-inertia analysis revealed that 34% of the morphological changes was attributed to climate change. The analysis also demonstrated that leaf length correlated more with raised temperatures when plants were in flower, while spike length depended on the temperatures during bud development. Received knowledge can be used to reveal rapid evolutionary processes of the Plantago species and predicting their further course for the construction of historical climate models based on the leaves traits.

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