Angiosperm Flora of India

Conditions for seedling establishment and probable function of seed in the clonal sedge Carex rugulosa Kük. in riverside marshes

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2013
Journal:Plant Species Biology
Date Published:2013
ISBN Number:1442-1984
Keywords:Carex, estuary, salt marsh plant, Seedling recruitment, vegetative reproduction

Carex rugulosa Kük. forms large meadows in moist zones along estuarine riversides. These meadows are usually maintained by rhizomatous ramet production (clonal growth), and the appearance of seedlings is uncommon. We studied the conditions required for seedling establishment. In areas in which clonal ramets were dense (906–1050/m2), and the relative light intensity at ground level was low (0.8–3.8%), seed germination was entirely suppressed. In contrast, many seedlings (288–513/m2) were observed in areas in which clonal ramets had been considerably reduced (13–269/m2) by continuous inundation in the previous year. In these areas, the relative light intensity had increased (20.5–79.3%). It was inferred that seeds resisted the prolonged inundation that killed the ramets, and that germination was induced under these open conditions. These results suggest that the main functions of sexual reproduction in C. rugulosa are recovery after severe damage to vegetation using seeds from the seed bank and the dispersal of seeds to areas without dense vegetation. Most seedlings died when the marshy meadow was temporarily inundated by heavy rain. However, transplanted seedlings survived better at artificially elevated sites that were not submerged. This shows that inundation during the seedling stage impedes seedling survival. Therefore, seeds can contribute to recovery after ramet decline or colonization to open area when (i) the rainfall is not heavy to cause seedling submergence or (ii) seeds are dispersed to higher area which is not inundated.

Short Title:Plant Species Biology
Taxonomic name: 
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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith