, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 244–251

Germination, reproduction and interference in the amphicarpic annual Emex spinosa (L.) Campd

  • P. W. Weiss

DOI: 10.1007/BF00346465

Cite this article as:
Weiss, P.W. Oecologia (1980) 45: 244. doi:10.1007/BF00346465


A comparison was made of the dimorphic subterranean and aerial achenes of the annual Emex spinosa (L.) Campd. Subterranean achenes were less dormant, had a higher percentage of viability, germinated at a faster rate, were less temperature-dependent in germination and produced larger seedlings than aerial achenes. Subterranean achenes germinated, equally well in light or dark but aerial achenes had a strong light requirement. There was a linear relationship between numbers of weight of aerial achenes and plant size in the field. More resources were allocated to reproduction in plants restricted in size because of environmental conditions. Subterranean achene production was less affected than aerial by density, nitrogen levels, varying field conditions and interference between plants grown, from subterranean and aerial achenes. In mixtures of such plants, those from subterranean achenes had larger leaf area and stems and more aerial achenes. These differences were not apparent in monocultures by the time of harvest. Seed dimorphism is more likely in short-lived fugitive species and the different roles associated with dimorphism (persistence in situ versus dispersal in E. spinosa) are seen as an ecological advantage in such species.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. W. Weiss
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Biology, Research School of Biological SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia