Acorn weight as determinant of germination in red and white oaks: evidences from a common-garden greenhouse experiment

  • Erik J. Sánchez-Montes de Oca
  • Ernesto I. Badano
  • Lilia E. Silva-Alvarado
  • Joel Flores
  • Felipe Barragán-Torres
  • Jorge A. Flores-Cano
Original Article


Key message

In Mexican oaks, germination increases with acorn fresh weight across oak species. Within species, these relationships are stronger in red oaks than in white oaks. In both oak groups, fresh weight of acorns increases with their dry biomass.


Mexican oaks are phylogenetically grouped in red and white oaks. White oaks produce heavier acorns than red ones, but no studies have assessed whether this leads to different germination patterns.


This study was aimed to determine the influence of the fresh weight of acorns on their germination.


Acorns of red and white oaks were hydrated, weighed, and sowed under greenhouse conditions to assess whether their fresh weight was related with germination. We also assessed whether fresh weight of acorns was related with their dry biomass and/or water accumulation capability.


Hydrated acorns of white oaks were heavier and germinated faster than those of red oaks. Germination percentages increased with acorn fresh weight across oak species. Within species, germination probability increased with acorn fresh weight, but these relationships were more marked in red oaks. Germination speed decreased with acorn fresh weight in red oaks, but these relationships were not found in white oaks. Fresh weight was positively related with acorn dry biomass in all oak species, but it was not related with water content.


Increasing acorn fresh weight enhances germination across oak species. Within species, however, this trait seems to have more influence in red than in white oaks.


Lobatae Logistic regressions Mexico Quercus Seed size 



We thank the support of JP Rodas-Ortiz during the collection of acorns and the measurements performed in the laboratory. We also thank the valuable comments of the editors of the journal, which strongly contributed to improve the earlier versions of the manuscript. Erik J. Sánchez-Montes de Oca thanks the doctoral fellowship of Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de Mexico (no. 150830) and Lilia E. Silva-Alvarado thanks the fellowship provided by project SEP-CONACYT CB-2013/221623.


This work was supported by project SEP-CONACYT CB-2013/221623 to EIB.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors state there are no conflicts of interests of any nature.

Supplementary material

13595_2018_693_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (385 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 385 kb)


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik J. Sánchez-Montes de Oca
    • 1
  • Ernesto I. Badano
    • 1
  • Lilia E. Silva-Alvarado
    • 1
  • Joel Flores
    • 1
  • Felipe Barragán-Torres
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jorge A. Flores-Cano
    • 3
  1. 1.División de Ciencias AmbientalesInstituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, A.CSan Luis PotosíMexico
  2. 2.CONACYT-IPICYTSan Luis PotosíMexico
  3. 3.Facultad de Agronomía y VeterinariaUniversidad Autónoma de San Luis PotosíSoledad de Graciano SánchezMexico

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