Effect of seed size and fungicide on germination and survival of buried seeds of two grassland species on the Loess Plateau, China

Jinwei Hou, Zhibiao Nan, Carol Baskin, Tao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Seed size has important fitness consequences that potentially extend throughout the life cycle of plants. However, the effect of variation in seed size on seed survival in the field is poorly understood. We used two grassland species Setaria viridis (physiological dormancy) and Lespedeza davurica (physical dormancy) to test the effect of within species seed size variation on seed germination, viability and susceptibility to pathogen attack in the soil. Seed bags with different sizes of seeds for each species were treated with fungicide or water (control) and buried for 4 months in the field on the Loess Plateau, China. We found that field germination of large seeds was consistently higher than that of small seeds for both species. Small seeds of S. viridis had higher field mortality than large seeds, but the mortality of seeds of L. davurica was not affected by seed size. More small than large seeds of L. davurica remained viable during field burial, but the viability of buried seeds S. viridis did not differ with size. Our study suggests that within species seed size can influence germination, mortality and viability of buried seeds in the soil, but seeds with different kinds of dormancy shows different patterns in the relationship between seed size and seed survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103716
JournalActa Oecologica
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was financially supported by National Basic Research Program of China ( 2014CB138702 ), National Nature Science Foundation of China ( 31901378 ) and 111 Program ( B12002 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Masson SAS


  • Fungicide
  • Lespedeza davurica
  • Seed burial
  • Seed survival
  • Seed viability
  • Setaria viridis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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