Width of the temperature range for seed germination of herbaceous plant species in temperate eastern North America: Life cycles, seasons and temperature variation and implication for climate warming

Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin, Xiao Wen Hu, Chun Hui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To persist (without immigration) in habitats with unpredictable environmental conditions, annuals must produce seeds each year or have a seed bank. Thus, we predicted that compared to perennials, annuals have a wider germination temperature range (GTR, the difference in temperature between the week with the highest and the week with the lowest germination during the natural germination season). We determined the GTR via germination phenology data for 350 herbaceous species in 59 families from the eastern USA: Summer annuals (SA), 63; winter annuals (WA), 83; monocarpic perennials (MP), 28; and polycarpic perennials (PP), 176. There was no significant phylogenetic signal for the GTR. The width of the GTR during the first spring germination season was 9.6, 8.7 and 8.8°C for MP, PP and SA, respectively, and during the first autumn germination season 12.8, 11.8 and 12.4°C for MP, PP and WA, respectively. Annuals did not have a wider GTR than perennials in either the spring or the autumn germination season. Our data suggest that selection for early germination in either spring or autumn has resulted in only small differences in the GTR. We predict that global warming will have little or no effect on reshaping the germination phenology of herbaceous species of temperate eastern North America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalSeed Science Research
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by HATCH Project No. 1013862 and by the (China) National Natural Science Fund (Nos 31672473 and 31001030).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • germination phenology
  • monocarpic perennials
  • polycarpic perennials
  • seed bank
  • summer annuals
  • winter annuals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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