Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate


Frank B. Salisbury


A number of montane herbs in northern Utah typically form flower buds beneath the snow cover and flower either through it or immediately after its recession. Two of these species, one naturally occurring , Claytonia lanceolata, and one cultivated bulb, Galanthus nivalis, were investigated for their response to this stress environment.

Snow depth patterns, chlorophyll content of tissues, and plants grown in light-tight boxes, suggest that light passing through the snow to reach plants growing underneath is not critically involved in the timing of their developmental cycles or in their ability to endure this low temperature environment.

Ability to endure stress seems to be closely related in a number of ways to activity at the plant membranes. Plants were protected from low temperature damage by application of cytokinin or calcium, both of which probably acted at the membrane. Potassium calcium antagonisms were reflected in the internal distribution of the ions under natural stress conditions; and plants that differentiated at the meristem while growing through the snow accumulated calcium at the tip during this growth .