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Germination behaviour in populations ofCapsella bursa-pastoris (Cruciferae)

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Germination behaviour of variousCapsella bursa-pastoris populations collected from Scandinavia, Middle Europe and the Alps, was tested in unheated, non-illuminated greenhouses (46 populations) and in growth chambers using 5–7 alternating temperature regimes (16 populations). For all populations, the influence of temperature on germination rate is straightforward: the higher the temperature, the greater the germination. Germination capacity, however, may depend on the geographical region. There is also a strong seed age effect on both, rate and capacity of germination. Once dormancy was broken, seeds from all populations were able to germinate over the entire range of temperatures. Some populations revealed a more or less pronounced temperature optimum for germination capacity, others germinated equally well over the entire temperature range. This indicates genetic heterogeneity between populations. However, no correlation between germinability and any environmental pattern was detected. The data indicate thatCapsella bursa-pastoris has adopted a germination strategy which includes a broad temperature tolerance. Germination of wildCapsella plants seems to be regulated by the factors contributing to the inception and breaking of dormancy which depend on pre- and postharvest conditions. Adaptation in germination behaviour inCapsella bursa-pastoris is different from that in other life history traits (flowering behaviour, growth form parameters).

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Neuffer, B., Hurka, H. Germination behaviour in populations ofCapsella bursa-pastoris (Cruciferae). Pl Syst Evol 161, 35–47 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00936010

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Key words

  • Angiosperms
  • Cruciferae
  • Capsella bursa-pastoris
  • Adaptation
  • germination behaviour in natural populations
  • seed dormancy