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Contrasting phenology and female cone characteristics of the two Macaronesian island endemic cedars (Juniperus cedrus and J. brevifolia)

AutorRumeu, Beatriz ; Nogales, Manuel ; Elias, Rui B.; Padilla, David; Resendes, Tiago; Rodríguez, Airam ; Valdés, Francisco; Dias, Eduardo
Palabras claveJuniperus cedrus
Juniperus brevifolia
Female cones
Island plants
Plant conservation
Fecha de publicación2009
CitaciónEuropean Journal of Forest Research 128:567–574 (2009)
ResumenPhenology and female cone characteristics of the two endemic cedars (Juniperus cedrus and J. brevifo- lia) from the Macaronesian islands were studied. Despite their closely taxonomic affinity and their evolution under insular conditions, different trends were recorded. Mature J. cedrus female cones were present throughout the year, while those from J. brevifolia were only present in summer and autumn. J. cedrus female cone size was significantly larger than that of J. brevifolia, a trend consistent with the presence of larger vertebrates (lizards and birds) in the Canary Islands. However, water content was four times higher in J. brevifolia female cones, which can be related with the higher rainfall existing in the Azores. J. cedrus has two or three seeds per cone, whereas J. brevifolia frequently had three. Seeds from J. cedrus were clearly larger and heavier, coinciding with the female cone size trend. However, tetrazolium tests revealed higher viability values in J. brevifolia. The relatively low percentage of filled seeds in J. cedrus could be a consequence of the climatic stress and limits to pollination due to fragmented populations as described for other Juniperus species. In summary, our results reveal that some environmental fac- tors such as the harsh conditions, high population frag- mentation and the dependence on large dispersers have compromised the fitness of J. cedrus in the Canary Islands.
Versión del editorhttp://www.springerlink.com/content/m3p63m8757537p50/fulltext.pdf
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