Ajuga is a medicinally important genus of the Himalayan region. This study was carried out on the phenotypic variability and reproductive allocation in two species of genus Ajuga, A. bracteosa and A. parviflora growing in variable habitats of Kashmir valley. Our findings clearly displayed significant divergence among sites which reveals a definite impact of altitude on morphological and reproductive features of the species under study. In A. bracteosa the plants growing at low altitudes are comparatively taller and produce more number of leaves, greater leaf dimensions and inflorescence number. But in case of A. parviflora a more or less reverse trend was seen. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that the habitat of Kangan and Dachigam proved relatively better for the growth of A. bracteosa and Brinal 2 and Gogaldara for A. parviflora. Maximum resources were allocated to the growth and development of the leaves followed by stem, root tubers and inflorescence in both the species. The reproductive effort was higher (40.48 ± 1.59) for the high altitude Betab valley population in case of A. bracteosa and was lowest for the high altitude Brinal 2 population (45.88 ± 1.37) in case of A. parviflora. The regression analysis revealed a positive correlation between branch length and root length, branch length and apical leaf length in both the species and a negative correlation between branch length and number of branches per plant in both the species. Our results are very useful to introduce the species into cultivation and developing strategies for conservation.
Shabana Gulzar, Ubaid Yaqoob, Afrozah Hassan and Irshad Ahmad Nawchoo
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