Acta Biologica Sibirica 7: 529-544, doi: 10.3897/abs.7.e78936
Ecological and morphological features of Rhodiola rosea L. in natural populations in the Altai Mountains
expand article infoAlexey S. Prokopyev, Mikhail S. Yamburov, Olga D. Chernova, Tatyana N. Kataeva, Elena S. Prokopyeva, Elena Yu. Machkinis, Alexander A. Kuznetsov
‡ National Research Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia
Open Access

The paper presents the results of the comprehensive study of Rhodiola rosea L. in natural populations in the Altai Mountains. The phytocoenotic confinement, demographic structure, and morphological characters of coenopopulations of Rh. rosea were studied in different ecological and coenotic conditions in the Chemal and Kosh-Agach regions of the Republic of Altai. Correlation between the morphometric parameters and their calculated values for the shoot and sex of the studied individuals, as well as environmental factors, was revealed. Rhodiola rosea L. is a valuable medicinal plant used for functional diseases of the central nervous system. At present, the natural reserves and areas of natural growth of the golden root have decreased significantly. The species is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (2008) and many regional Red Data Books of Siberia. In the Altai Mountains, Rh. rosea is widespread throughout the highlands, where it has occupied a wide range of habitats. The study showed that the highest values of ecological and effective density are characteristic of coenopopulations which are part of various hygrophytic variants of alpine and subalpine miscellaneous herbs with a high total projective cover of the herbaceous layer (CP 1, 2, 3, 4). The lowest values were found for coenopopulations growing in communities with a scarce herbaceous layer or dense shrub layer, and on steep gravelly slopes with crumbling soil and nonuniform moisture distribution (CP 5, 6, 8, 9). The studied coenopopulations are normal, full-membered, or incomplete-membered (some of them lack postgenerative individuals). In terms of the ontogenetic spectra, they are mainly left-sided, with a predominance of young generative individuals (CP 4, 5, 7) or bimodal, with an additional peak for old generative individuals (CP 2, 3, 6, 8). Male and female individuals Rh. rosea differ in many morphometric characters of the generative shoots. In some coenopopulations (CP 2, 3, 6, 9), male and female individuals show multidirectional deviation of characters compared to the totality, which indicates that in different environmental conditions these characters are not only genetically determined but can also be related to the sex of individuals.

Rhodiola rosea, rare medicinal plant, the Altai Mountains, phytocoenotic confinement, coenopopulation structure, morphological features