Plants respond to the environment in two ways. First, individual plants may respond by changes in morphological, physiological and biochemical characteristics. This phenomenon is often called phenotypic plasticity (Bradshaw 1965). In addition to this short-term reaction, populations of plants may change in genetic composition; genotypes with a high fitness for the environment in question will be maintained, while less suitable genotypes will disappear. In a more or less specialized and predictable environment genetic differentiation may lead to maintenance of only a limited number of genotypes, with a high fitness for the environment in question. In a more variable and less predictable environment, a larger genetic variation will be maintained in the plant population.

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Acta botanica neerlandica

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Koninklijke Nederlandse Botanische Vereniging

P.J.C. Kuiper. (1990). Analysis of phenotypic responses of plants to changes in the environment in terms of stress and adaptation. Acta botanica neerlandica, 39(3), 217–227.