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Title: Chemical studies of Rhododendron
Author: McAleese, Anthony Joseph
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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This work is divided into two main parts, the first looking at Rhododendron growth on limestone soils, both domestic (horticultural) and Chinese (wild), and the second looking at taxonomic trends in the leaf wax hydrocarbons of subsection Taliensia using Gas Chromatography. Analysis of Rhododendron plants growing on limestone soils was carried out using ICP-AES to look at levels of eight elements in the leaves and their availability in soils. Results showed that Ca and Mg concentrations and pH were correlated closely and loosely inverse to these were Cu, Fe and Mn concentrations (although Mn is not always predictable). Unrelated to these is another correlation, organic content is correlated to K, P and Zn levels. This is generally what one would expect from soils. In the leaves, Ca and Mg are correlated and Fe and P are also correlated, but unrelated to Ca and Mg concentrations. With few exceptions there is little or no correlation between leaf and soil, except in highly alkaline soils. Also related to this some work was carried out on annual trend in levels of nutrient in Rhododendron leaves. This showed that there may be a taxonomic annual trend in nutrient levels in Rhododendron and those Rhododendron suited to alkaline conditions have the most stable levels of Ca and Mg. The second part of the thesis presents an interpretation of patterns of leaf wax hydrocarbons in subsection Taliensia as a taxonomic guide. Analysis of data from gas chromatography of leaf wax extracts allowed a key to be developed in which separate taxa can be distinguished on the basis of their leaf wax compositions. This method is particularly useful when applied to hybrid populations where the parentage is in dispute or to species where the identity of a particular specimen is in question.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available