Analysis of the growth of seedlings of Urtica dioica on a woodland soil shows that in well-illuminated situations, the large response to addition of phosphate is caused by a high rate of absorption which allows a short period of high relative growth rate related to a rapid, but transient, increase of leaf area ratio. Without addition of phosphate, both relative growth rate and leaf area ratio remain almost constant over this same period. The relative increase of leaf area ratio caused by addition of phosphate is greatly reduced in shade.
Neither in the rate of absorption of phosphate from dilute solutions, nor in the production of dry matter relative to the quantities of phosphate absorbed, does Urtica appear to differ significantly from species which show a much smaller response to phosphate on this type of soil.
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