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The germination ecology and the dynamics of the generative reproduction in populations of Digitalis purpurea L. were investigated in the field as well as in experiments. Germination of fresh seeds in the dark on moist filter paper appeared to differ between populations. These differences were eliminated when a moist natural soil functioned as germination substrate. An interaction between the spectral composition of light and the germination substrate was present. Germination in gradients of light, temperature and soil moisture revealed some clear-cut results. Germination proved to be strongly dependent on the percentage of vegetation cover. During two years of burial in litter bags, the number of buried viable seeds did not decrease. From one generation of seeds produced in a natural population, 18% was introduced into the buried seed bank, 10% germinated in autumn and 24% was present as an enforced dormant surface seed bank in late autumn. The results are discussed in relation to secondary succession.
Oecologia © 1982 Springer