Seed germination of eight tropical pioneer species (Cecropia hololeuca, C. pachystachya, C. glazioui, Solanum gracillimum, S. granuloso-leprosum, S. tabacifolium, Croton floribundus and Miconia chamissois) was studied. In controlled conditions, alternating temperatures were tested from 5 to 25 °C. Low Red:Far Red ratios (R:FR) were also examined. In the field, germination was evaluated in gaps and under the canopy. With the exception of Croton floribundus, all other species were photoblastic in that higher germination percentages were found under light conditions (S. tabacifolium behaved as a negative photoblastic species at some temperatures). No relationship was found between germination percentage and alternating temperature. Germination was markedly reduced under low R:FR ratios. Alternating temperature is not the main factor affecting field germination. The low R:FR ratio under the canopy seems to be the crucial factor affecting germination.
Pioneer species; germination; alternating temperatures; gap and understory environments