Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Growth, seed production and effect of defoliation in an early flowering perennial grass, Alloteropsis semialata (Poaceae), on Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Gabriel M. Crowley and Stephen T. Garnett

Australian Journal of Botany 49(6) 735 - 743
Published: 01 December 2001


Alloteropsis semialata (R.Br.) A.Hitchc. is one of the first perennial grasses in monsoonal Australia to produce seed at the start of the wet season. Patterns of growth and seed production and seed dynamics of Alloteropsis semialata were examined in this study, along with the effects of partial defoliation. Growth of Alloteropsis semialata tussocks started with the first pre-wet-season rains, and was then interrupted during a period with little rain. Growth ceased before the end of the wet season, indicating that factors other than moisture availability were limiting. Seeds of Alloteropsis semialata were germinable on production, but did not remain viable or persist on the soil surface through the dry season. Most seeds and young seedlings were harvested and no seedlings were recruited. Inflorescence production increased with plant size. Moderate defoliation in the early wet season had no impact on plant growth, but reduced inflorescence and seed production for at least 2 years. Absence of a seed bank and early wet-season flowering mean that Alloteropsis semialata is likely to be sensitive to long-term over-grazing.

© CSIRO 2001

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