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Print version ISSN 0100-6762
MARTINS, Carlos Romero; HAY, John Du Vall and CARMONA, Ricardo. Invasion potential of two cultivars of Melinis minutiflora in the brazilian cerrado - seed characteristics and seedling establishment. Rev. Árvore [online]. 2009, vol.33, n.4, pp. 713-722. ISSN 0100-6762. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-67622009000400014.
Biological invasion by exotic species is considered one of the main threats to biodiversity conservation in protected areas. Due to its aggressiveness, Melinis minutiflora P. Beauv (molasses grass) is considered as the grass that has caused the highest impact on the native flora of the Brazilian Cerrado. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the invasive potential of two cultivars of Melinis minutiflora. Field and laboratory evaluations showed a seed production of 192 kg/ha (71946 viable seeds/m2) and 171 kg/ha (81690 viable seeds/m2) and 171 kg/ha for the cultivars Cabelo-de-Negro and Roxo, respectively. Recently collected seeds presented high viability and dormancy. As for colonization, the burial of seeds up to 3 cm of depth did not hinder seedling emergence, but the seeds of both cultivars buried at 4 cm did not emerge. The emergence of seedlings occurred from December to March. However, adverse factors such as shade, inter and intraspecific competition, low soil fertility and water stress did not completely eliminate all of the recently established individuals in the last rainy season. These cultivars of molasses grass showed similar behavior and the factors studied help to partially explain the success of this grass in colonizing natural habitats in the Brazilian Cerrado.
Keywords : Germination; molasses grass; seed production.