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Effects of Cultivation on the Germination Character of the Corn Cockle (Agrostemma githago L.)

P. A. THOMPSON
Annals of Botany
New Series, Vol. 37, No. 149 (January 1973), pp. 133-154
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42758039
Page Count: 23
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Effects of Cultivation on the Germination Character of the Corn Cockle (Agrostemma githago L.)
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Abstract

Germination tests were done on 19 populations of Agrostemma githago to examine their responses in relation to the cultural history of the plant and to try to determine what changes may have accompanied cultivation and the part these may have played in the establishment and subsequent decline of the species as a weed. Differences found from one population to another were found to be relatively minor, and the responses of all the collections resembled those of other species of Silenoideae distributed naturally around the Mediterranean basin. Differences were established between adventive populations of A. githago and species naturally distributed in deciduous woodland and steppeland zones of Europe, even when growth patterns and habitat preferences were relatively similar. It was concluded that A. githago had originated in an area with a Mediterranean climate and that there had been few changes in the germination responses of the species during its period of association with man as a weed of cultivation. The significance of this result is discussed in relation to the decline of the species in Europe during the last hundred years, and with respect to the effects of cultivation on the germination of species, including crop plants, of Mediterranean origin which possess germination responses similar to those of Agrostemma.

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