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Catkin frost damage in Mediterranean cork-oak (Quercus suber L.)

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During a period of study of floral phenology and pollen production in the cork-oak, Quercus suber L. (1997–99), an interruption of catkin development was detected in spring 1998. The cause might have been a sharp drop in minimum temperatures during that period, which coincided with the initial stages of microsporogenesis. Results show that environmental temperatures close to 0 ºC halted microsporogenesis and catkinelongation, resulting in their complete death. No fruits were observed in the affected zone, as a possible consequence of the lack of pollen. Phenological, histological, andaerobiological data are analyzed as a whole in order to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. Cold spells during flowering may be one of the factors influencing the high interannual variability of acorn production in Quercus species.

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Biología Vegetal (División Botánica), Universidad de Córdoba, Campus Universitario, Rabanales


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