One Year’s Seeds, Seven Years’ Weeds

  • R. J. Stephens


Whenever fields are cultivated, weed seeds and propagules of perennial species germinate and grow. Most have been produced in situ in weedy crops of the past, a fact that has given rise to the prediction embodied in the title of this chapter. In the context of this book the term seed includes true seeds and the functional seeds (actually fruits) produced in the grasses and in several other plant families. Most perennial weeds produce seeds but may in addition reproduce asexually by means of bulbs, rhizomes, runners and other structures. Seed production by several species, including Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) is essentially asexual because the seed is not always produced following sexual fusion, but instead generally contains diploid cells which are identical genetically with each other and with the parent. From the weed control point of view, such apomictic seeds are essentially similar to the homozygous ones produced by habitually self-pollinating species. In addition to increase by seed and vegetative means in situ, seeds are brought to the field as contaminants in crop seed, in soil, manure, straw or on farm machinery, in irrigation water and attached to animals; many seeds, especially those of the Compositae and of some trees, are windborne. Propagules arriving with the crop seed are in a specially advantageous position, often providing new introductions.


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© R. J. Stephens 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Stephens
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of BathUK

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