Great Basin Naturalist


A four-year study of five populations has revealed influences on seed production and seedling establishment of the Southwest riparian tree Juglans major. Germination is abundant after production of large seed crops (masts), but masts are produced infrequently. Within years, germination is stimulated by summer rains, enabling seedlings to establish on riparian terraces as well as streambanks. Traits such as capacity for dormancy during summer drought allow some seedlings to survive on terraces, but abundant rainfall is essential for high rates of seedling success. Ranges of moisture tolerance vary among seeds collected from different populations, suggesting that ecotypes may exist between riparian sites with dissimilar moisture regimes. Population-based differences are associated, in part, with differences in seed size.