Seed mass variation, germination time and seedling performance in a population of Pinus nigra subsp. salzamannii

Pedro Tíscar, Manuel Lucas


Seed size and germination time are related to factors affecting natural regeneration of forest stands. Sources of seed mass variation and the effect of seed mass on seedling performance were investigated in a Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii population. From eight maternal plants, seed mass variation was characterized for two crops at the within-individual level by mean, coefficient of variation, skewness and kurtosis values. Fifty seeds were planted in each of two substrate types, to monitor emergence, and survival and seedling performance during one growing season. Most variation in seed mass occurred within trees (c. 61%), rather than between them (c. 39%). Seed mass influenced emergence, depending on substrate type and mother plant. There were between-tree differences in the date of emergence, and a negative relationship was found between seed mass and date of emergence for the pine-seeds sown in peat substrate. The growth of seedlings was positively related to seed mass. It was argued that successful establishment of seedlings appears to be dependent on mother plant identity associated to seed traits, and that Pinus nigra stands could achieve regeneration by two different alternatives, depending on whether environmental variance overwhelms genetic variation.


maternal effects; seedling growth; kurtosis; skewness; forest regeneration

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010193-9094