Achene germination ecology of the federally threatened floodplain endemic Boltonia decurrens (Asteraceae)

Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin

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14 Scopus citations


As a result of modification/destruction of its floodplain habitats, Boltonia decurrens (Torr. & Gray) Wood now is listed as federally threatened. We investigated dormancy-breaking and germination requirements of achenes, monitored seasonal changes in germination responses of buried achenes and determined if buried achenes have the potential for long term viability. At maturity in autumn, 70-100% of the achenes germinated in light at high (30/15, 35/20 C), but not at low (15/6 C), alternating temperature regimes. Cold stratification during winter increased germination percentages, especially at low temperatures, and by spring 95-100% of the achenes germinated over a range of temperatures, including those (e.g., 15/6 C) that were inhibitory in autumn. Achenes required light for germination, but exposure to light during stratification did not promote germination in darkness at stimulated spring and/or summer habitat temperatures. Nearly 100% of the achenes buried for 88 mo in a nonheated greenhouse were viable. Thus, achenes have the capacity for long-term viability when buried in soil and subjected to seasonal temperature changes; however, soil seed bank studies have not been done at population sites. In both spring and autumn during the 88-mo burial period, exhumed achenes germinated to high percentages at 20/10, 25/15, 30/15 and 35/20 C, but germination at 15/6 C was high in spring and low in autumn. The implication of these results is that achenes could germinate in the field any time from late March to late October if disturbance resulted in their being exposed to light and soil moisture was not limiting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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