Current issue: 54(2)
In the present study, the impact of geographical isolation and habitat conditions on genetic diversity and sexual reproduction was tested in four relict populations of dwarf birch Betula nana L. in Poland and Belarus. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) method revealed that the endangered central European stands were not genetically extirpated compared with the widespread localities from Finland and Russia, which can result from infrequent outcrossing events in long-living clonal populations. However, genetic clustering methods indicated significant differentiation of the Polish populations because of their small sizes and long-term geographical isolation. Considerable numbers of empty seeds were observed in both relict and central locations, although fully developed seeds germinated better in widespread populations. Analysis of groundwater chemical parameters indicated that two relict populations were significantly different from the remaining samples with respect to pH, electrical conductivity and concentrations of phosphorus ions, which can also influence the efficiency of sexual reproduction. In the light of results obtained it seems that endangered B. nana localities are relatively stable.
The potential alleopathic inhibitive effects of aqueous extracts of 13 peatland plant species on germination, radicle and seedling growth of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), silver and downy birch (Betula pendula Roth., B. pubescens Ehrh.) were studied. Freshly cut plant parts were finely ground, mixed with distilled water and agitated. The proportions of fresh plant mass in the mass-based extracts varied within the range of 1, 5, 10 and 20% (w/w). The seeds were germinated in petri dishes moistened with the plant extracts. In a separate experiment growth of birch seedlings irrigated with the extracts was studied.
Ledum palustre, Vaccinium uliginosum and Empetrum nigrum extracts, and in certain experiments extracts of other species, inhibited the germination of Scots pine and birch seeds. Results from the different experiments were not, however, fully consistent. None of the low (1% w/w) extract concentrations had any effect on germination. Strong extract concentrations (20% w/w) inhibited germination of pine seedlings significantly. The extracts affected only slightly the growth of potted birch seedlings.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
Germination tests in varying photoperiod- and temperature-regimes showed that for early autumn collections, germination of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seeds is delayed, especially at low incubation temperature (+10°C) and in darkness. The presence of light during germination (8- or 24-hour photoperiod) or high incubation temperature (+20°C) enhanced germination. As autumn proceeded, a greater proportion of seed were able of germinate in darkness and also in low temperature regime. This result was consistent in both populations studied – in seeds from natural stand (Hyytiälä, Southern Finland) and in seeds from the Hyytiälä clone archive trees, growing in the same site.
An attempt was made to relate the development of germinability during autumn to previously accumulated chilling unit (optimum temperature +3.5°C) sum. Germination percent variation in subsequent cone-collection could not, however, be explained with accumulated chilling.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.