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Plant Sociology numero 50 (1)

pag. 91-107: Seed germination behavior of two Brachypodium species with a key role in the improvement of marginal areas

M. Galiè1, S. Casavecchia1, D. Galdenzi1, R. Gasparri1, P. Soriano2, E. Estrelles2 & E. Biondi1
1Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Marche Polytechnic University, 60131 Ancona, Italy.
2ICBiBE-Jardí Botànic, University of Valencia, Calle Quart 80, 46008 Valencia, Spain.

doi: 10.7338/pls2013501/07

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abstract

Brachypodium genuense (DC.) Roem. & Schult. and B. rupestre (Host) R. et S. are important components of the vegetation of some widespread secondary, semi-natural grassland habitats. Both species play a very important role in the development of vegetation series that characterize these grasslands when they are no longer subjected to grazing or cutting regimes. This led to the gradual disappearance of such habitats and the constitution of new woods.
In some cases, such as roadsides and marginal areas, it could be convenient to facilitate this serial process by seeding or hydroseeding of native species of the genus Brachypodium. This approach could led to a better evolution of the soil with the reduction of erosion, the constitution of more natural woods and the reduction of fires risk. For this reason the germplasm of a population of Brachypodium genuense and four populations of B. rupestre from Central Apennines was collected and its germination behavior was studied.
Indeed, the early phases of seedling development are critical to the successful establishment of grassland species. Precisely, it was investigated the influence of the following factors on germination: seed size and weight, temperature, light and the removal of outer covering structures. Indeed, each of the above-mentioned factors affects technical aspects of the sowing. Inter- and intra-species variations in seed germination behavior were evidenced in this work. Light was found to enhance germination in both species, whereas remarkable differences have been found in temperature requirements between the two species and also among the four populations of B. rupestre.

keywords

Brachypodium genuense, Brachypodium rupestre, ecology, grassland, marginal areas, seed germination, semi-natural grassland, vegetation series, habitat restoration