Vaccinium varingiaefolium (Ericaceae) is a dominant species found in many subalpine forests (above 1800-2000 meters) on the mountains of Java, Indonesia. As a species with high plasticity, it can grow as a tree of up to 20 meters tall under favorable conditions, or as a shrub in open, dry, or nutrient-poor substrate. It is also a pioneer species on ashy or volcanic soil of crater ridges. We compared several morphological and ecophysiological aspects of V. varingiaefolium growing at 0, 100, and 200 meters away from the main crater of Mount Tangkubanparahu volcano in Western Java. Measurements indicate that ambient concentrations of volcanic sulphur dioxide decreased as we move away from the crater. Chlorophyll content, leaf proline content, mean leaf area, plant height and stem diameter of V. varingiaefolium increased with greater distances from the crater, while mean leaf thickness decreased. However, there were no significant differences among locations in terms of plant transpiration rate, total sulphuric compounds in leaves, number of stomates, and number of fruits. This last finding suggests that reproductive allocation by V. varingiaefolium may not be affected by stress. We are currently conducting further studies to understand allocation and life history patterns in this species.

Key words: Ericaceae, Indonesia, Tangkubanparahu, Vaccinium varingiaefolium, volcano