Offspring spatial patterns in Picconia excelsa (Oleaceae) in the Canarian laurel forest
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We studied the spatial patterns of seedlings and seeds in isolated Picconia excelsa (Oleaceae) trees in the laurel forest of Anaga, Tenerife (Canary Islands). By finding isolated trees we assessed the correlation of seed and seedling bank traits and parent trees by removing the confounding effects of proximity (o100m radius) of conspecific fruiting trees. We counted all the seedlings per age (height) class within its parental range, and sampled the seed number along transects departing from beneath the parent canopy at regular intervals. We mapped all seedlings per age class and plotted seed and seedling profiles in relation to distance to parent trees. Older Picconia seedlings tended to clump significantly further from parent trees than younger seedlings, which clumped just beneath the parents. We found significant differences among distances to parent tree in numbers of seedlings per age class. The seedling bank area was significantly correlated with maximum distance of seedlings to parent trees. The majority of seeds were deposited within the first 4m below the parent crown. Seedlings amount at further distances from the trees is larger than seeds/ fruits as counted on the ground. Our results suggest that disseminated, older seedlings have occupied germination sites far from the parent tree because there is probably lower seedling–seedling and parent–seedling competition for resources, and perhaps no intraspecific allelopathy and predation/disease.