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Responses of Caryopsis Germination, Seedling Emergence, and Development to Sand Water Content of Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. and Bromus inermis Leyss

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Responses of caryopsis germination, seedling emergence, and development of Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. (Gramineae) and Bromus inermisLeyss. (Gramineae), two dominant perennial grasses in the Otindag Sandland of China, to different sand water content (SWC; 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 6%, 8%, 12%, 16%, and 20%) were studied comparatively. The results showed that the germination responses of the two grasses to SWC were similar (i.e. caryopses could not germinate when the SWC was below 3%; at SWC ranging from 3% to 12%, the higher the SWC, the higher the germination percentage; and at a SWC of 12%-20%, germination reached similarly high percentages). At a sand burial depth of 0.5 cm, the threshold of SWC for seedling emergence was 6% for A. cristatum and 8% for B. inermis; at 12%-20% SWC, the seedling emergence of both species reached similarly high percentages. The seedling growth responses of these two species to SWC gradients were different. For A. cristatum, the biomass of seedlings increased with SWC from 6% to 12%, and decreased with SWC from 12% to 20%. For B. inermis, the biomass of seedlings always increased with SWC from 8% to 20%. The results also showed that the seedlings of both species allocated more biomass to the roots with decreases in SWC. The SWC changes from April to October in natural microhabitats of both species suggested that the SWC may play an important role in caryopsis germination, seedling emergence, and the growth characteristics of the two grasses. The responses of caryopsis germination, seedling emergence, and the growth characteristics of these two species to SWC may determine their distribution patterns in the Otindag Sandland.

(Managing editor: Ya-Qin HAN)
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Keywords: Agropyron cristatum; Bromus inermis; Otindag Sandland; caryopsis germination; sand water content; seedling emergence; seedling growth characteristics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China 2: Laboratory of Quantitative Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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