Seed Science Research

Research Article

Seed size and shape are good predictors of seed persistence in soil in temperate mountain grasslands of Argentina

Guillermo Funesa1 c1, Sandra Basconceloa1, Sandra Díaza1 and Marcelo Cabidoa1

a1 Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (IMBIV), CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Casilla de Correo 495, 5000, Córdoba, Argentina


We tested whether seed mass and shape are good predictors of seed persistence in the soil of subhumid temperate montane grasslands of central Argentina. We plotted seed mass against variance of seed dimensions of 71 herbaceous species and obtained information on their persistence in the soil from a previous experiment on germinable seed banks. We identified a certain seed mass/shape combination beyond which no seed was persistent in the soil, with the exception of the annual Tagetes minuta. Our results confirmed the patterns previously reported for British species: small and compact seeds tend to persist in the soil for a longer time than big and elongated or flattened seeds. We suggest that the value of seed mass and shape as predictors of persistence in the soil can be extended beyond the British flora to herbaceous floras from other humid temperate regions.

(Received February 02 1999)

(Revised June 23 1999)

(Accepted June 23 1999)


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