Effect of fire on the germination of spores of Pteridium caudatum, an invasive fern
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Maria Ramírez Trejo; Blanca Perez-Garcia; Diego R. Perez-Salicrup; Alma Orozco-Segovia
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • bracken spread
  • burial depth
  • experimental fires
  • ferns
  • fire injuries (plants)
  • fire management
  • fuel loading
  • germination
  • invasive species
  • litter
  • Mexico
  • Mexico
  • post fire recovery
  • post-fire regeneration strategies
  • Pteridium
  • Pteridium caudatum
  • regeneration
  • soil heating
  • soil temperature
  • soil temperatures
  • southern brackenfern
  • temperature
  • Yucatan peninsula
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: July 15, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 48728
Tall Timbers Record Number: 24920
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Pteridium caudatum is a fern that frequently invades burnt areas in the Yucatan Peninsula and other neotropical sites. While post-fire regeneration of this fern apparently occurs mainly by vegetative means, little is known about the role of its spores in post-fire regeneration and in colonization of newly invaded fields. Central to these questions is whether bracken fern spores maintain their viability after fires. Here we experimentally evaluate the effect of fire-induced temperatures on Pteridium caudatum spore germination. We used 1200-cm3 blocks containing a constant fuel load of 47.4 g of litter, in which we placed spores at three different depths. The blocks were then ignited. And temperatures at each depth were monitored at 1-min intervals for 2 h. One day after the experimental fires, spores were dug out and cultured at 25ºC and 1.2-h light/dark cycles. Soil temperatures decreased significantly in relation to depth during fires. Spores on the surface were severely affected by fire, while those buried at 1 and 3 cm showed 77% germination. Germination in unburned controls was 86%. Our results suggest that during fires, Pteridium caudatum spores buried a few centimetres below the surface have a high percentage of viability, which could explain the rapid establishment of this species in burnt fields. © Cambridge University Press 2010.

Online Link(s):
Ramírez Trejo, M., B. Perez-Garcia, D. R. Perez-Salicrup, and A. Orozco-Segovia. 2010. Effect of fire on the germination of spores of Pteridium caudatum, an invasive fern. Journal of Tropical Ecology, v. 26, p. 457-465. 10.1017/S0266467410000118.