Seedlings of 24 European Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) populations were grown in controlled environment
chambers under simulated photoperiodic conditions of 50 and 60°N latitude to evaluate the effect of seed mass on
germination and seedling growth characteristics. Seeds of each population were classified into 1-mg mass classes,
and the four classes per population with the highest frequencies were used. Photoperiod had minimal influence on
seed mass effects. Overall, seed mass was positively related to the number of cotyledons and hypocotyl height.
Populations differed significantly in seed mass effect on biomass. In northern populations (55-61°N), dry mass at
the end of the first growing season was little affected by seed mass. However, dry mass in 9 of 15 central populations
(54-48°N) and all southern ( <45°N) populations correlated positively with seed mass. Relative growth rate was
not related to seed mass within or across populations, and thus early growth is largely determined by seed mass. Relative
growth rate also did not differ among populations, except for a geographically isolated Turkish population with
the highest seed mass and lowest relative growth rate. After one growing season, height was positively correlated
(r 2 > 0.6) with seed mass in 15 populations. To check the duration of seed mass effects, height growth of 1- to
7-year-old field experiments established with the same seed lots were compared. Seed mass effects on height were
strongest for 1-year-old seedlings and declined or disappeared by the age of 5-7 years among central and southern
populations, but remained stable over that time in northern populations.
REICH, P.B., OLEKSYN, J., and TJOELKER, M.G. 1994. Seed mass effects on germination and growth of diverse European Scots pine populations. Can. J. For. Res. 24: 306-320.
Reich, P.B.; Oleksyn, J.; Tjoelker, M.G..
Seed mass effects on germination and growth of diverse European Scots pine populations.
NRC Research Press.
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