The ability of Ranunculus lingua to grow at different water depths (from 0 to 80 cm) was tested. The plants from the tested depths did not differ significantly in their height and the number of shoots but differed in the number of leaves and generative organs. The lowest values were recorded at a depth of 30 cm and at a depth of 50 cm and deeper; the maximum was reached at a depth of 40 cm. The production of generative organs decreased significantly with increasing depth except for the peak at a depth of 40 cm. Significant changes in all the measured traits were recorded during the growing season. A wide plasticity of the species in depth tolerance was proved by experimental flooding. Differences in experimental and observed optimal water depth for R. lingua in Central Europe can be ascribed to the competition with littoral dominants. R. lingua usually occupies transition zones among dominants and its position in the hydrosere therefore varies with respect to the dominant competitor. Optimal water depth varied along a geographic gradient from Northern Europe (deeper water) to Central Europe (shallower water).
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