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

Influence of seed dimorphism and provenance on seed morphology, dispersal, germination and seedling growth of Brachyscome ciliaris (Asteraceae)

Rina Aleman A F , Manfred Jusaitis B C , Joan Gibbs A , Phillip Ainsley B D , Fleur Tiver E and Sophie Petit A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sustainable Environments Research Group, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA 5095, Australia.

B South Australian Seed Conservation Centre, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

C Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

D Zoos SA, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

E PO Box 158, Norton Summit, SA 5136, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: rina.aleman@yahoo.com

Australian Journal of Botany 63(8) 705-713 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT15142
Submitted: 18 June 2015  Accepted: 20 October 2015   Published: 9 December 2015

Abstract

Brachyscome ciliaris is a floriferous Australian native daisy, with potential for use as a horticultural species. The species is hardy and seeds are relatively easy to germinate, but it is unique within the Brachyscome genus in that seeds are distinctly dimorphic. Within a fruiting capitulum, ray seeds are smooth and narrow with a minute pappus, whereas disc seeds have broad flat wings with curled hairs and a longer pappus than that of ray seeds. Both seed morphs, collected from five populations of the species, were tested to determine differences in their morphology, germination speed and percentage, seedling growth and wind-dispersal characteristics. Ray seeds were generally lighter and smaller than disc seeds and their length varied significantly with provenance. Dormancy levels of the two seed morphs and growth of ray- and disc-derived seedlings did not differ significantly, but differences were significant among the five populations tested. Seeds germinated readily, and germination was optimal under winter or summer conditions and lower in spring or autumn. Seed production by plants raised from ray or disc seeds was identical, but Noora-sourced plants yielded more seed than did plants sourced from the other provenances tested. Seed size, germination and plant growth of B. ciliaris varied significantly among populations. Winged disc seeds were dispersed slightly further by wind than were wingless ray seeds. We concluded that dormancy, germination and seed-yield characteristics of B. ciliaris were all influenced more by seed provenance than by seed morph (ray or disc).

Additional keywords: Brachycome, dimorphic, disc seed, disk seed, dormancy, ray seed, wind dispersal.


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