The effect of habitat conditions on the abundance of populations and selected individual and floral traits of Impatiens glandulifera Royle

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Abstract

The effect of site conditions on the abundance of populations of I. glandulifera, selected individual features (height and width of stems, number of whorls and side branches, flower production), and floral traits (total length of flowers, length and width of lower sepal, spur length) were investigated in years 2013-14. Observations were conducted on fallow land, at roadsides, along riverbanks and edges of a riparian forest as well as in a willow thicket and a riparian forest inside located in the Vistula River valley in southern Poland. In these stands, taken successively, light availability gradually diminished, while plant canopy height and soil moisture increased. The low abundance of the population on the fallow land may have been caused by low soil humidity triggering seedling mortality, whereas the low abundance in the interior of the riparian forest may have been due to seasonal water stagnation hampering the development of offspring. The increasing values of individual traits from the fallow land to riparian forest edge might be linked to growing lateral shade, whereas the much lower values in the willow thicket and forest interior might be caused by full shade. Individuals growing on the fallow land, at roadsides, and along riverbanksproduced flowers with small total lengths and large lower sepals and spurs, whereas individuals occurring in willow thickets and riparian forests showed opposite tendency. The considerable stem dimensions and substantial production of large flowers may augment chances for successful resource capture and pollinator visits in open sites, while the reduced size of individuals and moderate production of small flowers may be sufficient for the maintenance of populations in closed habitats

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