Reproductive effort and phenology of seed production of savanna grasses with different growth form and life history
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The phenology of seed production in natural savanna grasslands was studied in the grass speciesAristida congesta, Cymbopogon plurinodis, Cynodon dactylon, Digitaria eriantha ssp.pentzii, Eragrostis rigidior, Eragrostis superba, Panicum coloratum, Schmidtia pappophoroides, Tragus berteronianus andUrochloa panicoides. Maximum seed production varied according to life history strategy and growth form from 0.03 mg seed g-1 shoot dry weight in the perennialD. eriantha ssp.pentzii which produces long stolons and 14.8 mg seed g-1 shoot inE rigidior, which produces short geniculate stolons, to 169.1 mg g-1 in the annualT. berteronianus. Seed production was in most species divided over several peaks during the season. Peaks of seed production were observed 3 to 7 months after the onset of the growth season depending on the start of the rains and the life history strategy and growth form of the species. Seed production varied from maxima of 180 seeds m-2 inD. eriantha ssp.pentzii to 47000 seeds m-2 in annual stands ofT. berteronianus. Except for annual grasslands withU. panicoides, seedling emergence data reported are smaller by at least a factor of 10 than the observed seed production. Among other factors, a low quality of produced seeds, predation by birds and insects and previous grazing by livestock may have contributed to this difference. Keywords: Annual grasses, Grassland disturbance, Perennial grasses, South Eastern Botswana, Seed size.
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Journal Article

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