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Sanchez-Salas J.,Laboratorio Of Ecologia Y Cambio Ambiental Global | Sanchez-Salas J.,Autonomous University of Nuevo León | Sanchez-Salas J.,A.P.S. University | Jurado E.,Laboratorio Of Ecologia Y Cambio Ambiental Global | And 8 more authors.
Flora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants | Year: 2012

Dispersal of organisms by water is known as hydrochory and is an important means of seed transportation. Here we present experimental evidence of possible dispersal and germination of seeds in water for arid land cacti. Seeds from Astrophytum spp. have unusual traits for plants from arid environments, traits that are typical of water dispersed seeds. Astrophytum capricorne and A. ornatum seeds disperse by floating in the Chihuahuan Desert. Seeds of other native species (Acacia farnesiana, Opuntia streptacantha and Prosopis laevigata (mesquite) were used as control, as well as commercial beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Seed structures of A. capricorne and A. ornatum are consistent with water dispersal (hat shape, a funicular envelope covering a prominent hilum, and air chambers throughout the tegument). Seeds of A. capricorne showed the greatest water permeability, higher than those of A. ornatum which had similar permeability to common beans and mesquite. Acacia farnesiana and Opuntia streptacantha had the lowest permeability. Seeds of A. capricorne without a funicular layer floated more than those with a funicular layer. All seeds of A. ornatum floated initially, but 10% of those with funicular layer sank after a 30 days floating period. P. laevigata seeds floated also, but less than those of Astrophytum spp., and seeds of A. farnesiana and Phaseolus vulgaris did not float. Germination of A. capricorne was high under all treatments, both when immersed in a water layer or only moistened. Germination of A. ornatum was generally low (<30%), with <5% germination for seeds immersed in water and for those placed on a water film. Seeds of A. capricorne germinated slower in a water layer than in other treatments. No difference in germination rate was found across all treatments in A. ornatum. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.

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