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Seed source, absence of favorable microhabitat conditions, and presence of competitors, predators or allelochemicals are among the many factors that may limit the germination of viable seeds. We conducted six field, growth chamber, and veranda experiments to investigate the effects of seed source, physical or chemical presence of co-occurring species, and litter presence on germination percentages of the Florida scrub endemic Liatris ohlingerae. This perennial herb produces many seeds but recruits few seedlings. Germination percentages were similar when seeds from scrub and roadside habitats were sown into their own and the contrasting habitat. We found no evidence of chemical inhibition from a co-occurring terrestrial lichen or from the allelopathic Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides), the dominant shrub in the habitat preferred by L. ohlingerae. However, germination was higher in shallow than in deep litter, and was suppressed by litter from oaks and pines compared to litter from Florida rosemary. In one experiment, higher levels of post-sowing seed predation closer to Florida rosemary shrubs limited germination. Germination of intact L. ohlingerae seeds generally exceeded 60% under a range of field and lab conditions. High field germination percentages within a few weeks of sowing suggest that L. ohlingerae does not maintain a sizeable persistent seed bank. Low seedling recruitment in this endangered plant is not likely caused by poor seed germination.
Cumberland Island National Seashore, Camden County, Georgia, is administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, and comprises 14,740 ha (36,415 acres) that include property and historic residences once owned by the Thomas Carnegie family. A floristic survey of the 7,880 ha (19,472 acres) owned by the National Park Service was conducted to provide Park Service personnel with a vouchered plant species checklist, supplemented with salient information such as relative abundance, locality data, and general community type. Six intensive collecting trips conducted in 2004–2006 yielded 498 species of plants, including 233 species not previously vouchered for the Island. The four largest families were Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Asteraceae, and Fabaceae. Identifications of specimens in the Cumberland Island National Museum Herbarium were also verified and incorporated into the annotated list. Maps, descriptions, and photographs of the various plant communities are provided.
A qualitative inventory of the vascular plant species of Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and contiguous areas was conducted from fall 2004–summer 2008. The 368 ha site is the most southeastern peak within the Amphibolite Mountains Macrosite of northwestern North Carolina. The study area is near equidistant from the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson in central Ashe County, and lies within the Blue Ridge Range of the Southern Section of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. Nine major communities were recognized, including a High Elevation Mafic Glade, which is only the second documentation of such a community in North Carolina or globally. Vascular plants consist of 706 specific and infraspecific taxa in 383 genera from 109 families. Plants represented were one Equisetophyta, six Lycopodiophyta, twenty-four Polypodiophyta, five Pinophyta, and 670 Magnoliophyta. The largest families in taxa richness were the Asteraceae (96), Poaceae (82), Rosaceae (37), Cyperaceae (32), Fabaceae (30), and Lamiaceae (25). One-hundred and sixty taxa (22.7%) were exotic. Thirty-four taxa were on the “NC Watch List” and an additional sixteen were regarded as “Significantly Rare” in North Carolina. One hundred and twenty-nine taxa were Ashe County records. Eight taxa were documented for the first time in North Carolina.