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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Seeds of 22 species collected from recently burned phrygana were tested for their response to fire-type cues of charred wood and heat-shock. All Cistus species were stimulated by brief heat-shock, as shown in previous studies; however, none responded to charred wood. Only one of the 22 species was stimulated by charred wood, and only in dark-inhibited seeds, and this response did not occur in the light. The lack of charred-wood-induced germination is in contrast to the substantial proportion of species with this germination response reported for mediterranean-type vegetation in California, the Cape region of South Africa, and Western Australia. Phrygana has many species with heat-shock-stimulated germination, primarily in the Fabaceae and Cistaceae. This germination cue is widespread in these two families, thus, the presence of heat-shock-stimulated germination is a result of homologous, rather than covergent, adaptations in mediterranean-climate ecosystems. Germination response to light was not randomly distributed with respect to fire-type response. Heat-shock-stimulated species were almost uniformly light neutral, in contrast to more opportunistic colonizing species with non-refractory seeds, in which half of the species responded positively or negatively to light.

Affiliations: 1: Division of Environmental Biology, National Science Foundation ; 2: MBK Horticultural Consultants


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