Daylength and temperature during seed production interactively affect adaptive performance of Picea abies progenies


Author for correspondence:
Øystein Johnsen Tel: +47 64949086 Fax: +47 64942980 Email:


  • • Adaptive traits in Picea abies (Norway spruce) progenies are influenced by the maternal temperatures during seed production. Here, we have extended these studies by testing the effects of maternal photoperiod and temperature on phenology and frost hardiness on progenies.
  • • Using eight phytotron rooms, seeds from three unrelated crosses were made in an environmental 2 × 2 factorial combination of long and short days and high and low temperatures. The progenies were then forced to cease growth rapidly at the end of the first growing season.
  • • An interactive memory effect was expressed the second growth season. Progenies from high temperature and short days, and from low temperatures and long days, started growth later in spring, ceased shoot growth later in summer, grew taller and were less frost hardy in the autumn than their full siblings from low temperatures and short days, and from high temperatures and long days.
  • • Norway spruce has developed a memory mechanism, regulating adaptive plasticity by photoperiod and temperature, which could counteract harmful effects of a rapidly changing climate.