Trade-offs between diaspore dispersal and dormancy within a spike of the invasive annual grass Aegilops tauschii

Ai Bo Wang, Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin, Jianqing Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Main conclusion: Differences in dispersal and dormancy of heteromorphic diaspores of Aegilos tauschii may increase its flexibility to invade/occupy weedy unpredictable habitats by spreading risk in space and time. Abstract: In plant species that produce dimorphic seeds, there often is a negative relationship between dispersal and dormancy, with high dispersal–low dormancy in one morph and low dispersal–high dormancy in the other, which may function as a bet-hedging strategy that spreads the risk of survival and ensures reproductive success. However, the relationship between dispersal and dormancy and its ecological consequences in invasive annual grasses that produce heteromorphic diaspores is not well studied. We compared dispersal and dormancy responses of diaspores from the basal (proximal) to the distal position on compound spikes of Aegilops tauschii, an invasive grass with heteromorphic diaspores. Dispersal ability increased and degree of dormancy decreased as diaspore position on a spike increased from basal to distal. There was a significant positive correlation between length of awns and dispersal ability, and awn removal significantly promoted seed germination. Germination was positively correlated with GA concentration and negatively correlated with ABA concentration, and the ABA: GA ratio was high in seeds with low germination/high dormancy. Thus, there was a continuous inverse–linear relationship between diaspore dispersal ability and degree of dormancy. This negative relationship between diaspore dispersal and degree of dormancy at different positions on a spike of Aegilops tauschii may facilitate seedling survival in space and time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Major Public Welfare Projects in Henan Province (201300311300).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Abscisic acid
  • Awns on grasses
  • Diaspore heteromorphism
  • Gibberellin
  • Invasive species
  • Seed dispersal
  • Seed dormancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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