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Distribution, morphology and habitats of Elatine triandra (Elatinaceae) in Europe, with particular reference to the central part of the continent

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Elatine triandra Schkuhr is the most variable and widespread species within the genus Elatine L.; it has been recorded in all continents, except Antarctica, but it is mainly located in Europe. The study is based on an extensive data set of European literature, herbaria and web data that covers the period 1828–2012. The range of the species in Europe is disjunctive, covering the southern and western parts of the Central European Plain and the southern part of the Fennoscandian Shield. At a smaller scale, the species can also be found along some river valleys. In Central Europe many localities, particularly isolated ones in the northern part of the range, are now only historical. From the data set we determined that E. triandra may be best observed between May and October. We found that species records show a near-significant shift since 1828. Depending on the environmental conditions, individuals of the taxon develop as one of two morphs: terrestrial or aquatic. The aquatic morph is characterized by stems, internodes, lamina and petiole that are twice as long as those of the terrestrial form. Elatine triandra seeds show consistent characteristics, both in terms of morphs and populations. Our studies show that the best diagnostic features, in addition to the construction of flowers, are the size, shape and surface structure of seeds. In Central Europe, E. triandra occurs exclusively in communities classified as Isoëto-Nano-Juncetea.
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Keywords: Isoëto-Nano-Juncetea; chorology; ephemerophyte; maps; morphology; phenology; phytogeography; vegetation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Botany and Nature Conservation, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland 2: Department of Environmental Protection and Management, Western Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland 3: Department of Botany, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary 4: Department of Botany, University of Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland 5: Department of Tisza Research, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Debrecen, Hungary

Publication date: October 2, 2015

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