To better match plant materials to ecological sites for the purpose of rangeland seedling establishment, we examined the relationship between seed size and growth and morphological traits in young seedlings of bluebunch wheatgrass (BBWG) (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh.] Á. Löve), a perennial Triticeae bunchgrass native to the Intermountain West. Traits examined included onset of germination, seedling biomass traits, and seedling surfacearea traits. We grew seeds of nine BBWG populations that varied for seed size and were produced in a common environment under 2 contrasting d/n temperature regimes (20/15°C; 10/5°C). Lighter-seeded populations germinated and initiated shoots earlier. Heavier-seeded populations displayed high levels of biomass-related traits (e.g., shoot and root biomass and shoot length), while lighter-seeded populations displayed high levels of surface area-related traits (e.g., specific leaf area and specific root length [SRL]). Correlations between seed size and young-seedling traits were mostly similar under the two temperature regimes. However, root length-related traits showed more positive correlations with seed size under the low-temperature regime, which is more similar to actual field-emergence conditions during early spring. P-24, a light-seeded population, originated from the most arid site and exhibited the highest SRL at low temperature, while T-17t, a heavy-seeded population, originated from the most mesic site and exhibited moderate SRL. Three populations used for rangeland revegetation, “Whitmar,” “Goldar,” and Anatone Germplasm, all exhibited lowseed mass and high SRL. However, only Anatone displayed high root-to-shoot length ratio under both temperature regimes, perhaps explaining its wide and successful use in rangeland seedings.
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