Germination requirements and responses to leaf litter of four species of eucalypt

José M. Facelli, Brenton Ladd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

We studied how the responses of four species of eucalypt to leaf litter related to their germination responses to light and water availability. Two of the species (Eucalyptus obliqua and E. baxteri) have a mesic distribution, while the other two (E. oleosa, and E. incrassata) are more xerophytic. We studied the effect of litter on emergence of the four species in a glasshouse experiment. Litter did not affect the emergence of E. incrassata and E. oleosa, but enhanced the emergence of E. obliqua and E. baxteri. Litter increased the seedling mortality of all four species. Germination responses to light and water availability were studied in growth cabinets under controlled conditions. The germination of E. obliqua and E. baxteri was substantially lower under fluorescent light than in darkness, but that of E. oleosa and E. incrassata was not affected by the light environment. The germination of E. obliqua and E. baxteri was significantly reduced by reduced water potential (Ψa). Substantial germination of E. oleosa and E. incrassata occurred even at very low Ψa (less than -1.05 MPa). We conclude that both the shade and the humid micro-environment provided by litter may have contributed to the emergence responses of the four species to litter, and these responses may correspond to ecological adaptations to the different environments in which they live.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-445
Number of pages5
JournalOecologia
Volume107
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1996

Keywords

  • Eucalyptus species
  • Litter
  • Mediterranean-type woodlands
  • Tree seedling establishment

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