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The effect of the awn on the burial and germination of Stipa speciosa

The effect of the awn on the burial and germination of Stipa speciosa

Acta Oecologica 16(6): 719-728, 1995 ( )

The role of the hygroscopically active awn of the Patagonian grass Stipa speciosa, in drilling the diaspores below the soil surface is investigated. The aim of the paper is to determine the role of the awn in: 1) positioning the seed in the ground and 2) the influence it may have on some traits of seed and seedling fitness such as germination speed and seedling survival. The results suggest that deeply buried diaspores germinate faster than shallowly buried ones. For the "drill effect" to occur, the awn must be anchored in the soil as a consequence of an angular fall from the parent plant. The awn is geniculate and this helps to increase the number of angular falls. The hygroscopic awn has an additional influence on establishment by pushing the diaspore firmly into the soil, which may enable a more rapid germination to occur. This may give the new plant a competitive advantage over seedlings of other species of the community.

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Accession: 033785385

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