Seed dispersal along watercourses can favour the long-distance migration of invasive species, not only for aquatic or wetland species, but also for terrestrial wind-dispersed plants. It is crucial to investigate the role of watercourses in the dispersal of the knotweed hybrid complex (Fallopia × bohemica) due to its frequent occurrence on riverbanks and production of fertile achenes. For this purpose, we experimentally studied buoyancy and germinability of F. × bohemica achenes in stirred water, over 28 d. We also measured the long-term survival and growth of seedlings according to exposure time to water. After nearly 2 d in the water, 50% of achenes were still afloat. After 3 d, germination occurred in water and the seedlings also floated. Moreover, the exposure of achenes to water, for however long, significantly favoured their germination rate, without affecting seedling survival, compared to a direct planting in soil. Furthermore, a maximum seedling dry mass was reached following exposure to water for 277 h (11.5 d), surpassing significantly the dry mass of seedlings planted directly in soil. Water exposure strongly favours achene germination and seedling survival. Our results demonstrate a high potential for the seeds and seedlings of Fallopia to be dispersed successfully by water.
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Vol. 18 • No. 1