Plant form, tiller dynamics and aboveground standing crops of the range of Cortaderia pilosa communities in the Falkland Islands.

Published online
29 Apr 1990
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Davies, A. B. & Riley, J. & Walton, D. W. H.

Publication language
Falkland Islands & South Sandwich Islands


Five sites in the Falkland Islands were chosen to represent a wide range of C. pilosa communities. C. pilosa plant form varied from tussocks of several hundred tillers to sparse tillers in less favourable sites where tussocks did not form. Tussock plants had large vegetative tillers and more reproductive tillers than plants from non-tussocky swards. Flowering was sporadic and showed great annual variation. Four green leaves were usually present on a mature tiller at any one time. Leaves showed considerable longevity and only about 4 leaves/tiller were produced annually from Apr. to Oct. Variations in plant growth form resulted in large differences in aboveground standing crop; yield of green C. pilosa was 5.4 t DM/ha in a tussock forming sward and 0.4 t in a non-tussocky sward. The decline in standing crop in spring when conditions were favourable for plant growth is explained.

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