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Seed Ecology of Dust Seeds in Situ: A New Study Technique and Its Application in Terrestrial Orchids

Hanne N. Rasmussen and Dennis F. Whigham
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 80, No. 12 (Dec., 1993), pp. 1374-1378
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445665
Page Count: 5
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Seed Ecology of Dust Seeds in Situ: A New Study Technique and Its Application in Terrestrial Orchids
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Abstract

A method is described by which seeds of terrestrial orchids are sown and retrieved in the field under almost natural conditions. For the first time it is possible to conduct a quantitative study of orchid germination in situ and observe seasonal growth and mortality of seedlings. The technique has also enabled us to investigate the relation between the site where the seeds are sown, the availability of an appropriate fungus to infect the seeds, and seedling establishment in the soil. Five local species were studied. Corallorhiza odontorhiza, Goodyera pubescens, and Galearis spectabilis all began to germinate in May-June, after 23-30 weeks in the soil. These species differed in their dependency on infection at germination time, but none of the seedlings developed beyond the point of rupturing the testa except when infected. Seeds of Liparis lilifolia and Tipularia discolor did not germinate within the first 12 months of the experiment. The implications and potential uses of this field sowing technique for further studies and for other kinds of minute seeds are discussed.

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