Stem growth characteristics of high yielding Miscanthus correlate with yield, development and intraspecific competition within plots

Paul Robson, Iain Donnison, John Clifton-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
179 Downloads (Pure)


High yielding perennial grasses are utilized as biomass for the bioeconomy and to displace fossil fuels. Many such grasses, including Miscanthus, are largely undomesticated. The main Miscanthus crop is a naturally occurring hydrid M. × giganteus (Mxg). All above ground biomass from Miscanthus is harvested. Stem traits correlate strongly with yield and therefore understanding the seasonal progression of stem growth should identify routes for improved yield. If such studies utilized high yielding commercial genotypes growing in plots the conclusions are likely to be more commercially relevant. Stem elongation was measured from five high yielding genotypes, 10 plants per plot from 20 plots in a replicated field trial over 4 years. Richards growth function produced an accurate fit to stem elongation. Differentials, double differentials and integrals of the parameterized function produced six growth characteristics, describing growth rate, timing and duration of the logarithmic growth phase and area under the growth curve. Maximum growth rate was correlated with yield and compensatory interactions were identified, for example plants with higher maximal growth rates had shorter durations of logarithmic growth. Plant position within plots of lower yielding genotypes did not affect growth characteristics but had a significant effect on late season growth characteristics in higher yielding genotypes. Two high yielding genotypes were compared over 3 years and growth parameterized using four different factors. The inverse correlation between maximum growth rate and duration of logarithmic growth was consistent across years and factors in both genotypes except when parameterized using temperature and only in Mxg. This suggested that different limitations to growth were exerted on the two genotypes which may help explain the exceptional performance of the Mxg genotype. We discuss the implications of the identified complex interactions in growth characteristics for approaches to maximize seasonal yield in perennial biomass crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1085
Number of pages11
JournalGCB Bioenergy
Issue number9
Early online date03 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2019


  • bioenergy
  • energy crops
  • growth curves
  • Miscanthus
  • modelling
  • yield
  • modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'Stem growth characteristics of high yielding Miscanthus correlate with yield, development and intraspecific competition within plots'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this