Astragalus ampullarioides and A. holmgreniorum are two rare endemics of southwestern Utah. Over two consecutive field seasons (2009-2010) we examined pre-emergent reproductive success, based on F/F and S/O ratios, from populations of both Astragalus ampullarioides and A. holmgreniorum, estimated the density of the soil seed bank of A. holmgreniorum as a measure of potential post-emergent reproductive success, and estimated seed persistence within the soil seed bank. Fruit/flower (F/F) ratios and seed/ovule (S/O) ratios varied significantly between populations and among years in both species, and showed low reproductive output in both taxa. In Astragalus ampullarioides F/F and S/O were 0.06±0.01 and 0.16±0.02, respectively (2009), and 0.14±0.01 and 0.41±0.02, respectively (2010). For Astragalus holmgreniorum F/F and S/O ratios were 0.11±0.01 and 0.38±0.02, respectively (2009), and 0.23±0.01 and 0.66±0.02, respectively (2010). Although Astragalus holmgreniorum exhibited a low soil seed bank density (4.3 seeds m-2), seed persistence data showed low a low percentage of seeds germinated during the first year in the soil seed bank. Seeds remaining in the seed bank maintained high percent viability. Soil seed persistence of Astragalus ampullarioides differed from A. holmgreniorum in that a high percentage of seeds germinated during the first year in the soil seed bank. A high percentage of viability in ungerminated seeds was also maintained in A. ampullarioides. Although these species differ in life histories and dependence on soil seed banks, an understanding of the strategies unique to each species will prove useful in management plans.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences



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Fruit/flower ratio, seed/ovule ratio, Astragalus, endangered species, seed bank, seed persistence, milkvetch