, Volume 80, Issue 2, pp 147-152

Plant dispersal by motor cars

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Abstract

Mud from a car driving more than 15 000 km in the growing season of 1986 in the area surrounding Göttingen (FRG) was sampled systematically to assess the size and nature of the car-borne flora. The sludge from front and back mudguards, wheels and other lower parts of the car was set out for germination in a greenhouse. Until the end of 1987, 124 plant species with a total of 3926 seedlings were identified and counted. Germination success was significantly related to the sampling date, the front or back position of the car and the influence of low temperature during exposure. The nature of this potentially car-dispersed flora was compared with the local flora as a whole as well as the flora and plant communities of road verges in the studied area. It can be supposed that almost all plant species growing in plant communities along roadsides can be carried by cars and therefore belong to the car-dispersed flora.