Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2012


Physaria ludoviciana (Nuttal) O'Kane & Al-Shehbaz (silvery bladderpod) is a state endangered species in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the eastern edge of its range. Our goal was to investigate its seed biology (production, dispersal, seed bank longevity, afterripening, seed longevity after storage using germination and emergence, and seedling establishment). This information will be useful for conservation efforts of this endangered species. Over a ten-year period, various seed biology parameters were measured. Infructescences were counted to estimate seed production with 110–744 seeds per reproductive plant. Soil samples were collected at various distances to estimate dispersal where seeds dispersed less than a meter, and also at various times to estimate longevity in the seed bank where only 4% as many seeds were found in November as in June. After-ripening tests used seeds imbibed every two months after harvest for ten months where germination rates increased when imbibition was delayed at least six months. Germination and emergence of stored seed was measured to estimate longevity. Seeds stored at 4 °C and 40–50% relative humidity remained viable for at least six years. For establishment and plant density, seedlings, vegetative plants, and reproductive plants were counted. For establishment, densities were 0–11 seedlings m−2. This seed biology information could be applied to conservation efforts for this endangered species.


This article was originally published in Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, V. 139(1), in 2012.

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