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Title: Ecology of 'Nassella neesiana', Chilean needle grass, in pastures on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. I: Seed production and dispersal
Contributor(s): Gardener, M R (author); Whalley, Ralph D  (author)orcid ; Sindel, Brian M  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2003
DOI: 10.1071/AR01075
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Abstract: 'Nassella neesiana' (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth (Chilean needle grass) originated in South America and is now a widespread weed in pastures in south-eastern Australia. To date, little research on the biology of 'N. neesiana' has been undertaken in Australia. This study investigated several aspects of the biology of 'N. neesiana' in pastures on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. The main flowering period for 'N. neesiana' in Australia was shown to extend from November to February and is similar to that in South America. Potential for production of panicle seeds was large and varied from 1584 seeds/m² in 1995 to 22 203 seeds/m² in 1996 as a result of changes in the density of flowering tillers per unit area. 'Nassella neesiana' produced a further 7.2 cleistogenes (hidden seeds in the flower stem) on average per tiller. Hence, total potential seed production (panicle seeds and cleistogenes) was 28 282 and 8036 seeds/m² in 1996 and 1997, with the cleistogenes accounting for 21.5 and 26.1% of the total respectively. Furthermore, the production of cleistogenes was not affected by clipping flowering tillers at 3 different heights. Three possible dispersal mechanisms of 'N. neesiana' seeds were investigated. Adherence of seeds to the wool appeared to be the most effective. Twenty-five per cent of seeds that were picked up naturally in the wool of sheep after grazing in a paddock of 'N. neesiana', remained after 5 months. Shearing just before seed set reduced the number of seeds adhering to the wool. An average of 1.7% of panicle seeds and 5.3% of cleistogenes fed to Angus steers passed through the animal intact within 4 days, but <50% of these seeds were viable. The majority of seeds recovered from a wind dispersal experiment were within 1 m of the parent plant and the furthermost seed was 2.8 m away. The implications of these results for management are discussed.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 54(6), p. 613-619
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
ISSN: 0004-9409
Field of Research (FOR): 050104 Landscape Ecology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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