Wing loading, not terminal velocity, is the best parameter to predict capacity of diaspores for secondary wind dispersal

Wei Liang, Zhimin Liu, Minghu Liu, Xuanping Qin, Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin, Zhiming Xin, Zhigang Wang, Zhi Su, Quanlai Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Lift-off velocity may be the most useful surrogate to measure the secondary dispersal capacity of diaspores. However, the most important diaspore attribute determining diaspore lift-off velocity is unclear. Furthermore, it is not known whether terminal velocity used to characterize the primary dispersal capacity of diaspores can also be used to predict their secondary wind dispersal capacity. Here, we investigate how diaspore attributes are related to lift-off velocity. Thirty-six species with diaspores differing in mass, shape index, projected area, wing loading, and terminal velocity were used in a wind tunnel to determine the relationship between diaspore attributes and lift-off velocity. We found that diaspore attributes largely explained the variation in lift-off velocity, and wing loading, not terminal velocity, was the best parameter for predicting lift-off velocity of diaspores during secondary wind dispersal. The relative importance of diaspore attributes in determining lift-off velocity was modified by both upwind and downwind slope directions and type of diaspore appendage. These findings allow us to predict diaspore dispersal behaviors using readily available diaspore functional attributes, and they indicate that wing loading is the best proxy for estimating the capacity for secondary dispersal by wind.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4298-4307
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 6 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.


  • Appendage type
  • Diaspore mass
  • Diaspore shape index
  • Downwind slope
  • Terminal velocity
  • Upwind slope
  • Wind tunnel
  • Wing loading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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