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Variability and cryptic heteromorphism of Ambrosia artemisiifolia seeds: What consequences for its invasion in France

Abstract : Background and Aims:Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a ruderal weed introduced from North America to Europe. It produces large amount of achenes which are highly heterogeneous in size. Due to the preponderant role of propagules in invasive plant processes, the achene mass variability related to germination, dispersal strategy and life history traits of offspring were investigated within this species. Methods:The variability in achene mass was quantified among six populations sampled in different habitats. The effects of achene mass variation on germination were studied. The percentages of floating and non-floating achenes were evaluated in the studied populations. The consequences of floatability on the growth and traits of the offspring were studied. Key Results:Mean achene mass ranged from 1·72 to 3·60 mg, depending on the populations, and was highly variable. Variation among achenes within plants accounted for 63·9 % of the variance, whereas variances among plants within each population (22·2 %) and among populations (13·9 %) were lower. Achene masses were also positively correlated to the total germination percentage for four populations out of six. Two kinds of achenes were distinguished: floating and non-floating. The majority of floating achenes (90 %) sank 24 h after water immersion. Whatever the population, floating achenes were lighter, more dormant and germinated faster than non-floating achenes. Plants which issued from floating achenes had better growth than those from non-floating achenes. Conclusions:The capacity of A. artemisiifolia to be invasive in Europe appears to be high, possibly due to its huge plasticity in seed mass which may help it to cope with a wide range of conditions and to establish in disturbed habitats. Furthermore, the recent invasion of southern France by A. artemisiifolia could be partially explained by water dispersal of achenes through rivers and has pinpointed its colonization potential along French rivers.
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Submitted on : Sunday, May 31, 2020 - 11:51:00 AM
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Boris Fumanal, Bruno Chauvel, Anne Sabatier, François Bretagnolle. Variability and cryptic heteromorphism of Ambrosia artemisiifolia seeds: What consequences for its invasion in France. Annals of Botany, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2007, 100 (2), pp.305-313. ⟨10.1093/aob/mcm108⟩. ⟨hal-02667986⟩

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