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Ellison Abstract- 2001 Ellison

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Ellison, A. M. 2001. Interpsecific and intraspecific variation in seed size and germination requirements of Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae). American Journal of Botany 88: 429-437


Seed size and germination requirements of eight (of nine) Sarracenia species, and thirteen populations of S. purpurea were studied. All species except for S. purpurea are restricted to the southeastern United States, whereas S. purpurea ranges across Canada, southward along the eastern United States into Maryland and Virginia (S. purpurea ssp. purpurea), and from New Jersey southward into northern Florida and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (S. purpurea ssp. venosa). I tested the hypotheses that dormancy-breaking requirements vary predictably among species across a latitudinal gradient. I also sought to determine whether seed size and germination requirements were useful characters for resolving systematic and phylogenetic questions within this genus. Seed size varied significantly among species, but variability in seed size within S. purpurea exceeded the variability in seed size observed across all eight species studied. Seeds of all species are morphophysiologically dormant upon dispersal. Length of required cool, moist pretreatment varied among species, and germination in higher latitude populations is enhanced with longer pretreatment. In contrast, variability in germination requirements of subspecies, varieties, and populations of the geographically wide-ranging S. purpurea was not related clearly to geographic location (latitude or elevation). Germination requirements do not map onto a proposed phylogeny of Sarracenia, but observed differences in germination requirements of S. purpurea ssp. venosa var. burkii relative to other populations of S. purpurea support the recent proposal to elevate this variety to species status.

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