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The Distribution of "Calcicole" and "Calcifuge" Species in Relation to the Content of the Soil in Calcium Carbonate and Exchangeable Calcium, and to Soil Reaction

B. L. T. de Silva
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 22, No. 2 (Aug., 1934), pp. 532-553
DOI: 10.2307/2256188
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2256188
Page Count: 22
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The Distribution of "Calcicole" and "Calcifuge" Species in Relation to the Content of the Soil in Calcium Carbonate and Exchangeable Calcium, and to Soil Reaction
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Abstract

The distribution of calcicole and calcifuge species has generally been associated with the presence and absence respectively of calcium carbonate. Little or no notice has been taken of the occurrence of marked calcicoles like Arum maculatum on soils without any detectable trace of calcium carbonate. Data are presented which show that in all such cases the soils contain considerable quantities of exchangeable calcium. Arum maculatum is invariably associated with a high content of exchangeable calcium and low acidity. On the other hand, calcifuges like Vaccinium myrtillus are associated with a low content of exchangeable calcium combined with moderately high acidity. Mercurialis perennis, though common on soils with high exchangeable calcium, is also found on soils with low exchangeable calcium provided the acidity is low. Similarly Pteridium, though commonest on soils with low exchangeable calcium, is sometimes found on soils with moderate exchangeable calcium provided the acidity is fairly high. It is probably this latitude in respect of exchangeable calcium and soil acidity that has made possible the association of these two species on soils containing no calcium carbonate. The nitrifying bacteria, as a community, are not well defined in their reaction to any of the factors considered. They have been found to flourish in soils containing calcium carbonate and consequently of low acidity. But they have also been found to function, though with less vigour, in acid soils where Vaccinium and Calluna grew. On the whole the distribution of calcicoles appears to be correlated with content of exchangeable calcium, and the results of culture experiments confirm this view. The calcifuges appear to follow the soil reaction.

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