Variation in seedling growth of 11 perennial legumes in response to phosphorus supply

Jiayin Pang, Mark Tibbett, M.D. Denton, Hans Lambers, Kadambot Siddique, Michael Bolland, Clinton Revell, Megan Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Phosphorus (P) deficiency is a major problem for Australian agriculture. Development of new perennial pasture legumes that acquire or use P more efficiently than the current major perennial pasture legume, lucerne (Medicago sativa L.), is urgent. A glasshouse experiment compared the response of ten perennial herbaceous legume species to a series of P supplies ranging from 0 to 384 µg g−1 soil, with lucerne as the control. Under low-P conditions, several legumes produced more biomass than lucerne. Four species (Lotononis bainesii Baker, Kennedia prorepens F.Muell, K. prostrata R.Br, Bituminaria bituminosa (L.) C.H.Stirt) achieved maximum growth at 12 µg P g−1 soil, while other species required 24 µg P g−1. In most tested legumes, biomass production was reduced when P supply was ≥192 µg g−1, due to P toxicity, while L. bainesii and K. prorepens showed reduced biomass when P was ≥24 µg g−1 and K. prostrata at ≥48 µg P g−1 soil. B. bituminosa and Glycine canescens F.J.Herm required less soil P to achieve 0.5 g dry mass than the other species did. Lucerne performed poorly with low P supply and our results suggest that some novel perennial legumes may perform better on low-P soils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-143
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Early online date4 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


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