Plant Diversity ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (03): 234-238.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2020.11.006

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Dispersal and germination of winged seeds of Brandisia hancei, a shrub in karst regions of China

Yongquan Rena, Chengling Huanga, Jiaming Zhanga, Yongpeng Mab, Xiaoling Tianc   

  1. a College of Eco-Environmental Engineering, Guizhou Minzu University, Guiyang 550025, China;
    b Yunnan Key Laboratory for Integrative Conservation of Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations, Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming 650201, China;
    c The College of Humanities and Science of Guizhou Minzu University, Guiyang 550025, China
  • Received:2020-06-30 Revised:2020-11-06 Published:2021-06-28
  • Contact: Yongquan Ren, Xiaoling Tian
  • Supported by:
    We thank Prof. Carol C. Baskin who greatly improved the manuscript with constructive suggestions. We also acknowledge the support for this work from Yu He, Na Gao, Zhengquan Chen and Chengqian Yang. This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China to Xiaoling Tian (No. 31901237), and it was supported by the Young Academic and Technical Leader Raising Foundation of Yunnan Province to Yongpeng Ma (No. 2018HB066).

Abstract: Brandisia hancei (Paulowniaceae) is a widely distributed shrub in karst regions in southwestern China. Its seeds have a membranous wing, and they mature just before the rainy season begins. To assess the effect of the wing on seed dispersal and germination of B. hancei, we measured the dispersal distance at varying wind speeds and release heights, falling duration from different release heights, floating duration on still water, rates of imbibition of water, and drying and soil adherence to seeds. Germination experiments were conducted on intact and de-winged seeds immediately after harvest. The wing increased the falling duration in still air and the floating ability on water. Dispersal distance of winged and de-winged seeds did not differ at a wind speed of 2.8 m s-1, but at 3.6 and 4.0 m s-1 dispersal distances were greater for de-winged than for winged seeds. Seed wing had little effect of absorption and retention of water, but significantly increased soil adherence to the seeds. Mature seeds were non-dormant and germinated to over 90% with a mean germination time of about 10 days. By combining the environmental conditions in karst habitat with the seed traits of B. hancei, we conclude that dispersal and germination of winged seeds are adapted to the precipitation seasonality in heterogeneous habitats absence of soil.

Key words: Anemochory, Hydrochory, Membranous wing, Seed dispersal, Winged seed