Georgios Anagiotos, Marianthi Tsakaldimi, Petros Ganatsas
Variation in acorn traits among natural populations of Quercus alnifolia, an endangered species in Cyprus
Dendrobiology 2012, vol. 68: 03-10
Abstract: Quercus alnifolia is an endemic species in Cyprus, and it is rated as Vulnerable (VU) in the Red List of Oaks. Although Q. alnifolia has a great ecological importance, there are only few studies about this species. In this work we have studied the natural variability of this species by analyzing acorn dimensions, acorn mass, length of embryo, moisture content of acorns and seed germinability among the seven acorn provenances, collected in Cyprus. We also determined the seeds responses to drying. Germination trials were also carried out, and differences in seed germination among populations were examined. Rate of water loss and its effect on seed germination was also estimated by application of specific desiccation treatments. The results showed that acorn characteristics significantly differed between the populations, following a general trend to reduce their dimensions and mass with the altitude increase. Seed germination was high for all studied populations, and germination behaviour was similar for all populations. Desiccation of acorns below 35% resulted in a great reduction of seed germination capacity.
Additional key words: seed germination, desiccation, golden oak, morphology, population variability