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Journal of Arid Land

Abstract

Eremosparton songoricum, a rare and endemic sand dune plant, appears to be experiencing recruitment failure. The structure of five populations from the Gurbantunggut Desert, China, was investigated for recruitment patterns, and two of them were examined for flowering, pollination and seed germination limits on regeneration. The results showed that total 150 seedlings only occurred on line transects in riverside Dure population, but they all died half a month later; no seedlings occurred in other four hinterland desert populations indicating recruitment was a failure at all populations although flowers were plentiful. Reproductive success depends on pollinators. Nectar is ‘reward’ for pollinators, with 0.06 μL–0.12 μL and 0.15 μL–0.35 μL per flower in Dure and Kabu populations, respectively, in con-tinuously two secreting days. Spontaneous self pollination is rare with nearly zero fruit production. Geitonogamous self pollination is predominant with 14.47% fruit set. Seed mass in the riverside Dure population was significantly greater than that in other hinterland desert populations. Consequently, the Dure population exhibited a significantly higher germination rate (about 90%) than those in other populations (about 30%). Results suggested that recruitment failure of E. songoricum is not due to flower shortage, pollination limitation, or poor seed germination but environmental pressure and/or human disturbance.

Keywords

seedling recruitment; sand dunes; regeneration; population structure; pollination ecology

First Page

75

Last Page

84

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