Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 102, Issue 4, pp 520–522 | Cite as

Smoke-induced germination of succulents (Mesembryanthemaceae) from fire-prone and fire-free habitats in South Africa

  • S. M. Pierce
  • K. Esler
  • R. M. Cowling
Short Communication

Abstract

Previous studies have shown germination to be stimulated by fire-related cues such as heat and charate extract and, more recently, plant-derived smoke extract. However, smoke extract has not been tested on non-fire-prone species. We hypothesized that smoke-induced germination would be restricted to fire-prone species and investigated responses of members of the family Mesembryanthemaceae which has genera confined to fire-prone and to non-fire-prone habitats as well as genera with species across both habitats. Results of germination trials of smoke effects did not support the hypothesis. Plant-derived smoke extract stimulated germination in both fire-prone and non-fire-prone species. These results cast some doubt on the ecological significance of smoke as a fire-related cue and we suggest that investigation of effects of fire-related cues on non-fire prone species may throw light on general mechanisms of germination.

Key words

Seed Germination Fire Mesembryanthemaceae Smoke 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baxter BJM, Van Staden J, Granger JE, Brown NAC (1993) Plantderived smoke and smoke extracts stimulate seed germination of the fire-climax grass Themeda triandra Forssk. Environ Exp Bot 34:217–223Google Scholar
  2. Bittrich V, Hartmann HEK (1984) The Aizoaceae — a new approach. Bot J Linn Soc 97:239–254Google Scholar
  3. Brown NAC (1993a) Promotion of germination of fynbos seeds by plant-derived smoke. New Phytol 123:575–583Google Scholar
  4. Brown NAC (1993b) Seed germination in the fynbos fire ephemeral, Syncarpha vestita (L.) B.Nord. is promoted by smoke, aqueous extracts of smoke and charred wood derived from burning the ericoid-leaved shrub, Passerina vulgaris Thoday. Int J Wildland Fire 3:203–206Google Scholar
  5. Brown NAC, Kotze G, Botha PA (1993) The promotion of seed germination of Cape Erica species by plant-derived smoke. Seed Sci Technol 21:573–580Google Scholar
  6. Cowling RM (ed) (1992) The ecology of fynbos: fire, nutrients, and disturbance. Oxford University Press, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  7. De Lange JH, Boucher C (1990) Autecological studies on Audounia capitata (Bruniaceae). I. Plant-derived smoke as a seed germination cue. S Afr J Bot 56:700–703Google Scholar
  8. Hartmann HEK (1991) Mesembryanthema. Contrib Bol Herb 13: 75–157Google Scholar
  9. Herre H (1971) The genera of the Mesembryanthemaceae. Tafelberg, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  10. Keeley JE (1987) Role of fire in seed germination of woody taxa in California chaparral. Ecology 62:434–443Google Scholar
  11. Keeley JE, Pizzorno M (1986) Charred wood stimulated germination of two fire-following herbs of the California chaparral and the role of hemicellulose. Am J Bot 73:1289–1297Google Scholar
  12. Kilian D, Cowling RM (1992) Comparative seed biology and coexistence of two fynbos shrub species with soil-stored seed banks. J Veg Sci 3:637–646Google Scholar
  13. Liede S (1990) Studies in the genus Erepsia-on the ecology of a fynbos succulent. Mitt Inst Allg Bot Hamb 23:759–766Google Scholar
  14. Pierce SM, Moll EJ (1994) Germination ecology of six shrubs in fire-prone Cape fynbos. Vegetatio 110:25–41Google Scholar
  15. Van de Venter HA, Esterhuizen AD (1988) The effect of factors associated with fire on seed germination of Erica sessiliflora and E. hebecalyx (Ericaceae). S Afr J Bot 54:301–304Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. Pierce
    • 1
  • K. Esler
    • 2
  • R. M. Cowling
    • 2
  1. 1.Bolus HerbariumUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Institute for Plant ConservationUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations