Abstract Risk spreading of germination may be particularly common in environments with unpredictable climates. Germinability, propensity to germinate at different temperatures and germination speed were classified for seeds of 105 species from the central Australian arid zone, and related to plant growth form, perenniality, seed size and seed dispersal mode. Almost all species had at least some seeds which were dormant, consistent with the idea that risk spreading is important in arid zones. Dispersal mode and plant perenniality were not found to be associated with germinability. Seeds of most species germinated rapidly relative to what has been recorded from higher‐rainfall environments, as might be expected in an environment where wet soils are usually temporary. Faster germination tended to be associated with low germinability, suggesting a spectrum of strategies from species that risk a small number of their seeds in many rainfall events, to those that germinate only in large rainfall events but then risk large numbers of seeds.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Australian Journal of Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1992|