Date of Award
Master of Forest Resources (MFR)
Forestry and Environmental Conservation
Following centuries of exploitation and fire suppression, longleaf pine systems are now the focus of many conservation efforts. Efforts to restore populations of Schwalbea americana L. in longleaf pine savannas have been met with frustratingly low recruitment. While past studies have briefly quantified germination rates for Schwalbea, there have not been any studies yet that truly investigate this plant’s germination requirements. Additionally, there has been little research into characterizing the parasitic relationship between Schwalbea and its various host species. We conducted a germination study in a growth chamber that investigated Schwalbea’s germination rate and time to germinates as response variables using stratification and time between dispersal and sowing as independent variables. We found that a cold stratification significantly influenced germination rates, and after allowing one or two months to pass between dispersal and sowing the seeds, we observed a stronger germination response following stratification, and shorter time to germinate. Additionally, we explored the post-germination development of Schwalbea seedlings at varying levels of host and resource availability. Host presence resulted in greater resource allocation to storage and regenerative organs (i.e. thickened roots and dormant buds) with higher moisture levels amplifying this effect. Knowledge of these germination and seedling development trends may help facilitate future conservation and reintroduction efforts and may be used to inform future studies with the goal of facilitating in situ recruitment.
Miller, Trenton, "Germination Trends of American Chaffseed, Schwalbea Americana L., and Factors Affecting First-Year Seedling Development" (2023). All Theses. 4184.