Contrasting phenology and female cone characteristics of the two Macaronesian island endemic cedars (Juniperus cedrus and J. brevifolia)

  • Beatriz Rumeu
  • Manuel Nogales
  • Rui B. Elias
  • David P. Padilla
  • Tiago Resendes
  • Airam Rodríguez
  • Francisco Valdés
  • Eduardo Dias
Original Paper


Phenology and female cone characteristics of the two endemic cedars (Juniperus cedrus and J. brevifolia) from the Macaronesian islands were studied. Despite their closely taxonomic affinity and their evolution under insular conditions, different trends were recorded. Mature J. cedrus female cones were present throughout the year, while those from J. brevifolia were only present in summer and autumn. J. cedrus female cone size was significantly larger than that of J. brevifolia, a trend consistent with the presence of larger vertebrates (lizards and birds) in the Canary Islands. However, water content was four times higher in J. brevifolia female cones, which can be related with the higher rainfall existing in the Azores. J. cedrus has two or three seeds per cone, whereas J. brevifolia frequently had three. Seeds from J. cedrus were clearly larger and heavier, coinciding with the female cone size trend. However, tetrazolium tests revealed higher viability values in J. brevifolia. The relatively low percentage of filled seeds in J. cedrus could be a consequence of the climatic stress and limits to pollination due to fragmented populations as described for other Juniperus species. In summary, our results reveal that some environmental factors such as the harsh conditions, high population fragmentation and the dependence on large dispersers have compromised the fitness of J. cedrus in the Canary Islands.


Juniperus cedrus Juniperus brevifolia Female cones Seasonality Island plants Plant conservation 



The staff of El Teide National Park (Organismo Autónomo de Parques Nacionales), particularly Ángel Bañares, Manuel Durbán and Manuel Marrero, facilitated our work in this protected area. José Mª Fernández-Palacios and Robert P. Adams revised an early version of this contribution. Pedro Jordano provided us with important comments and suggestions, and he also helped us with some analyses using the JMP statistical package. We thank Raquel Gutiérrez for technical support. B.R. and A.R. were financed by two grants conceded by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). D.P.P. was funded by a PhD grant awarded by the Canary Islands Government. This work was partially financed by a Canary Islands Government project (PI2007/053), partially supported by FEDER funds from the European Union.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Rumeu
    • 1
  • Manuel Nogales
    • 1
  • Rui B. Elias
    • 2
  • David P. Padilla
    • 1
  • Tiago Resendes
    • 2
  • Airam Rodríguez
    • 1
    • 4
  • Francisco Valdés
    • 3
  • Eduardo Dias
    • 2
  1. 1.Island Ecology and Evolution Research Group (IPNA-CSIC)La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary IslandsSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências Agrárias, Centro do Clima, Meteorología e Mudanças Globais (C-CMMG)/Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias Agrárias dos Açores (CITAA)Universidade dos AçoresAzoresPortugal
  3. 3.Applied Plant Biology Group, Plant Biology DepartmentUniversity of La LagunaLa Laguna, Tenerife, Canary IslandsSpain
  4. 4.Department of Evolutionary EcologyEstación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)SevilleSpain

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