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Zbigniew Celka

Relics of cultivation in the vascular flora of medieval West Slavic settlements and castles

This monograph presents results of research on relics of cultivation and the present vascular flora of sites of medieval fortified settlements and castles in Central Europe. Special attention was paid to 109 West Slavic sites located in Poland, northeastern Germany, and the Czech Republic. For comparison, floristic data were collected also at 21 sites of medieval settlements and castles of Baltic tribes, East Slavs, and Teutonic knights. Results of this study confirm the hypothesis that remnants of medieval fortified settlements and castles are valuable habitat islands in the agricultural landscape, and are refuges of the plants that have accompanied West Slavs since the Middle Ages. At the 109 West Slavic archaeological sites, 876 vascular plant species were recorded. The present flora of the study sites is highly specific, clearly distinct from the surrounding natural environment, as shown by results of analyses of taxonomic composition, geographical-historical and synecological groups, indices of anthropogenic changes of the flora, and degrees of hemeroby (i.e. human influence) at the studied habitats. The sites of fortified settlements and castles are centres of concentration and sources of dispersal of alien species. Aliens account for nearly 21% of the vascular flora of the study sites. Among them, a major role is played by archaeophytes (101 species). Some archaeological sites are characterized by a high contribution of so-called species of old deciduous forests (98 species). Despite many features in common, floras of archaeological sites vary significantly, depending on their geographical location, size, typology, and chronology of their origin. Historical sites occupied in the past by West Slavs differ in the current vascular flora from the sites occupied in the Middle Ages by East Slavs or Baltic tribes and from Teutonic castles. West Slavic archaeological sites are primarily refuges for 22 relics of cultivation. Considering the time of cultivation, 3 groups of relics were distinguished: (i) relics of medieval cultivation (plants cultivated till the late 15th century); (ii) relics of cultivation in the modern era (introduced into cultivation in the 16th century or later), and (iii) relics of medieval-modern cultivation. These species play a special role in research on the history of the flora of Central Europe and thus also of the world flora. Thus the best-preserved sites of medieval West Slavic settlements and castles should be protected as our both cultural and natural heritage. This work is a key contribution to geobotanical research on transformation of the vegetation associated with human activity. Considering the problem of relics of cultivation it corresponds also to basic ethnobotanical issues.

Open access

Zbigniew Celka, Monika Szczecińska and Jakub Sawicki

Genetic relationships between some of Malva species as determined with ISSR and ISJ markers

Two categories of DNA markers were used to determine genetic relationships among eight Malva taxa. A maximum parsimony analysis validated the division of the genus Malva into the sections Bismalva and Malva. The species classified into those sections formed separate clusters. M. moschata was a distinctive species in the section Bismalva, as confirmed by previous genetic research based on ITS and cpDNA sequence analyses. The applied markers revealed a very high level of genetic identity between M. alcea and M. excisa and enabled molecular identification of M. alcea var. fastigiata. Speciesspecific markers were determined for the majority of the analyzed species, permitting their molecular identification. A specific marker supporting the differentiation of M. alcea and M. excisa was not found.

Open access

Ivan Yu. Parnikoza and Zbigniew Celka


The work presents the results of herbarium survey that resulted in finding Botrychium simplex E. Hitchc. – a new for the native Ukrainian flora species of the family Ophioglossaceae. A specimen of this taxon was found in the National Herbarium of Ukraine in the M. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv (KW) among the specimens of Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. originating from the surroundings of Kharkiv. Thus, this finding indicates the most south-eastern locality of B. simplex in Europe found so far.

Open access

Zbigniew Celka, Katarzyna Buczkowska, Alina Bączkiewicz and Maria Drapikowska

Genetic Differentiation Among Geographically Close Populations of Malva Alcea

We estimated similarity and differences at the level of isozymes among populations of Malva alcea from various habitats and parts of Central Europe. Our analyses revealed the activity of 8 enzyme systems: 6 polymorphic (PGI, IDH, PX, DIA, PGM, SHD KB) and 2 monomorphic (GOT, ME). The mean number of alleles per locus is 2.12. Nei's genetic distances among populations are small, not exceeding 0.3. Mean values of Nei's genetic similarity are typical of populations of the same species. Grouping by Upgma based on Nei's genetic distances showed that the distinguished groups are only partly correlated with geographic region.

Open access

Piotr Szkudlarz and Zbigniew Celka


Eight Hypericum species are native to Poland: H. elegans Stephan ex Willd., H. hirsutum L., H. humifusum L., H. maculatum Crantz, H. montanum L., H. perforatum L., H. pulchrum L., and H. tetrapterum Fr. Only seeds of H. elegans were investigated in detail in Poland before, so here we present results of qualitative and quantitative analyses of seed morphology of the other 7 species, based on characters like seed length, width, and shape, seed coat sculpture, shape of epidermal cells of the testa, and number of epidermal cells along the seed axis. The results show that seeds of the studied species are small, 0.56-1.15 mm long and 0.26-0.49 mm wide. In SEM images, seed coat sculpture is reticulate in 5 species, papillate in H. hirsutum, and cup-shaped in H. pulchrum. The differences are caused by the varied final development of the testa epidermis, which constitutes the outer layer of the seed coat. The mean number of epidermal cells along the seed axis ranges from 22 to 33. Results of cluster analysis, based on the agglomeration method and including also published data on seeds of H. elegans, show that the variation in the investigated characters of seeds is reflected in the taxonomic division of the genus into sections.