Seed banks of rare Physostegia correllii (Lamiaceae) in Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
Keywords:bottomland hardwood forest; climate change; disturbance fugitive; floodplain; land-use change; rare species; seed bank; shading; wet grassland
Rare species threatened by climate and land-use change may harbor seeds in soil seed banks for periods of time even if adults have disappeared from the site. Soil samples were collected from sites with current Phyostegia correllii populations and from sites with former populations in Lady Bird Lake (a reservoir of the Colorado River, Austin, Texas. A seedling emergence study was conducted under greenhouse conditions, and the presence/absence of seedling emergence was recorded for two years. Seeds germinated from the seed banks of all current and former colonies tested. The presence of seed banks in a historical site (Blunn Creek) of Physostegia correllii suggests that management to encourage the germination of seeds might help to encourage the establishment of populations of this species. The re-establishment of disturbance fugitives might be facilitated by removing overhanging ground vegetation or imposing water management regimes that mimic natural floodplain dynamics.
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