• Cultivar × strain interaction;
  • nitrogen fixation

The symbiotic performance of four pea (Pisum sativum L.) cultivars in combination with each of four strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum was studied in growth chamber experiments in order to estimate the effects of cultivars, strains and cultivar × strain interaction on the variation in dry weight, N content and dry weight/N ratio. At harvest 63 days after planting, cultivars accounted for 75% of the variation in dry weight, while the Rhizobium strains accounted for 63% of the variation in N-content and 70% of the variation in dry weight/N ratio. Cultivar × strain interactions were statistically significant, but of minor quantitative importance, accounting for 5–15% of the total variation. Rhizobium strains also influenced the partitioning of N between reproductive and vegetative plant parts and between root and shoot biomass.