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Germination ecology of the perennial Centaurium somedanum, a specialist species of mountain springs

  • Eduardo Fernández-Pascual (a1), Borja Jiménez-Alfaro (a1), Ana I. García-Torrico (a1), Félix Pérez-García (a2) and Tomás E. Díaz (a1)...
Abstract
Abstract

To improve understanding of how a rare endemic species of Centaurium adapts to a specialized ecological niche, we studied the germination ecology of the mountain spring specialist, C. somedanum, a perennial species restricted to an unusual habitat for this genus. We conducted laboratory experiments with fresh seeds collected from two populations for three consecutive years, to investigate: (1) the effect of temperature and light on germination; (2) the existence of seed dormancy; and (3) inter-population and inter-annual variation in germinability. Germination occurred only in the light and at relatively low temperatures (15–22°C) with no differences between constant and alternating regimes, and a significant decrease at high temperatures (25°C and 30°C). We found non-deep simple morphophysiological dormancy and variation in seed germinability depending on the year of seed collection. C. somedanum diverged from the common germination characteristics of the genus in: (1) its germination at lower temperatures, which contrasts with what is generally expected in wetland species but could be adaptive in the spring habitat; and (2) its morphophysiological dormancy, which we report here for the first time in the genus and which could be an adaptation to its mountain habitat.

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*Correspondence Fax: +34 985130685 Email: eduardofp@indurot.uniovi.es
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Seed Science Research
  • ISSN: 0960-2585
  • EISSN: 1475-2735
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