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1 January 2017 Importance of depth in soil to corm survival in Erythronium americanum (Liliaceae)
Jack T. Tessier
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Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily) is a common spring ephemeral in northeast forests. It is important to nutrient retention in the spring, serves as food for wildlife and has aesthetic value with its early visibility and attractive flower. Corms of E. americanum survive the winter and summer in a dormant state, and the plants expend energy using droppers to send corms deeper at the end of their active period in the spring. I investigated the importance of depth in soil to corm survival by planting ten corms at 1, 5 and 10 cm depth for both the summer of 2014 and the winter of 2014–2015 in a hardwood forest in southeastern New York State. In the winter, a second treatment was added in which snow was removed after each storm for the first and last four weeks of snow cover. During the summer, corms at 5 and 10 cm depth had a significantly greater chance of survival to fall than those at 1 cm. During the winter, corm survival to spring was higher at 10 cm depth than at 1 or 5 cm depth in the control, and lowest at the 1 cm depth in the snow removal treatment. Collectively, shallow corms will have a lower survival rate than deeper corms, and reduced winter snow fall will significantly reduce survival of corms at shallow depths. Mechanisms of mortality underlying this pattern need further investigation.

Jack T. Tessier "Importance of depth in soil to corm survival in Erythronium americanum (Liliaceae)," Rhodora 119(977), 33-43, (1 January 2017).
Published: 1 January 2017

climate change
forest understory
northeast United States
spring ephemeral
trout lily
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