Ecological Research

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 189–197 | Cite as

Comparisons of germination traits of alpine plants between fellfield and snowbed habitats

Original Article


We examined the seed-germination responses of 27 alpine species with reference to habitat type (fellfield and snowbed), temperature (five regimes), and light requirement. About 70% of species showed >40% germination at warm temperatures without cold stratification. However, a moist-chilling treatment markedly improved the germination percentages in most species, especially under cool conditions. Thus, cold stratification effectively reduced the temperature requirement for germination. Patterns of germination response within species were not consistent between the fellfield and snowbed habitats for species inhabiting both habitats. For interspecific comparisons, there were no significant differences in germination responses to the temperature regimes and the cold stratification between the fellfield and snowbed species. Also, germination speed and the length of germinating period did not differ between fellfield and snowbed species. Most species (86%) showed a requirement for light for germination without cold stratification. Although the extent of the light requirement was reduced after cold stratification in some species, the light requirement of most small-seeded species remained. The combination of cold stratification and the light requirement is a major factor determining the seedling emergence and formation of seed banks in alpine plants. However, habitat-specific patterns of germination traits were less clear, suggesting similar germination traits in fellfield and snowbed plants, at least under controlled conditions in the laboratory.


Alpine habitat Light requirement Moist-chilling Seed germination test Temperature requirement 



The authors thank Takashi Kohyama, Shiro Tsuyuzaki, Shizuo Suzuki and Tetsuya Kasagi for valuable suggestions in planning and discussion; Kengo Yoshida, Kenji Narita, Tomokazu Tani and Toru Takeuchi for assistance in fieldwork; and Takuya Kubo and Etsushi Kato for help in data analyses. This study was partly supported by a grant-in-aid (#10740355) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture to Gaku Kudo.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Integrative Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba, IbarakiJapan

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